Preschool children must develop gross motor skills before they can develop the more fine motor skills needed to learn to write. According to the EarlychildhoodNEWS website article, “Optimizing Early Brain and Motor Development Through Movement,” by Carl Gabbard and Luis Rodrigues, experiences that strengthen gross motor skills through movement and physical activity improve brain activity in early childhood. Children who develop gross motor skills during preschool will be better prepared for the requirements of kindergarten.
Critical Developmental Stages
Children have the greatest capacity to improve brain development through strengthening their gross motor skills until approximately age five, according to what Gabbard and Rodrigues report. Developmental activities that help preschoolers improve gross motor skills, such as climbing, throwing and running, can help stimulate brain activity during a child's critical formative years.
Preschool children who have developed gross motor skills are better prepared to handle the requirements of kindergarten and beyond, which call for extensive refined hand movements. Many of the indicators for kindergarten readiness include gross motor skills such as coordination, flexibility and strength. According to the article, “Movement Milestones in Preschoolers,” published on the website Healthy Children, preschool children use motor skills to move their bodies and to help them understand new ideas. For example, many preschool teachers ask students to use their bodies to pretend to be a bird, a kangaroo or other animals. Gross motor skills are improved as vocabulary and concepts are reinforced, boosting brain development critical for success in kindergarten.
Develop Healthy Habits
According to the Healthy Habits for Life Resource Kit on the KidsHealth website, children benefit from gross motor activities that encourage them to have a healthy relationship with exercise and movement. Preschool children are naturally curious and enjoy physical activities that set the stage for a lifetime of healthy habits. Activities that encourage gross motor development teach young children to enjoy exercise and physical activity.
Opportunity for Practice
Preschool is the perfect time for young children to develop their gross motor skills. Developmental equipment may be more readily available at preschools than most parents have in the home -- including jungle gyms, balance beams and crawling tunnels. Children can practice and improve gross motor skills while having fun with friends. Fun games, interactive music and other preschool activities give children multiple opportunities to develop both their gross motor skills and fine motor skills.
- Early ChildhoodNEWS: Optimizing Early Brain and Motor Development Through Movement
- KidsHealth: Healthy Habits for Life
- First 5 California: Fine & Gross Motor
- Brooks Rehabilitation: A Guide to Your Child’s Gross and Fine Motor Development
- Healthy Children: Movement Milestones in Preschoolers
- Get Ready to Read: Understanding Physical Development in Preschoolers
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