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Physical Development

Physical Development is a prime area in the Early Years Foundation Stage. A child’s physical development underpins all seven areas of learning and development within the Early Years Curriculum. For example, fine motor control is essential in developing the skills needed for writing.  

The Statutory Early Years Framework states that ‘Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives. Gross and fine motor experiences develop incrementally throughout early childhood, starting with sensory explorations and the development of a child’s strength, co-ordination and positional awareness through tummy time, crawling and play movement with both objects and adults. By creating games and providing opportunities for play both indoors and outdoors, adults can support children to develop their core strength, stability, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and agility. Gross motor skills provide the foundation for developing healthy bodies and social and emotional well-being. Fine motor control and precision helps with hand-eye co-ordination, which is later linked to early literacy. Repeated and varied opportunities to explore and play with small world activities, puzzles, arts and crafts and the practice of using small tools, with feedback and support from adults, allow children to develop proficiency, control and confidence’.

What are the expectations in Reception and by the end of the year?

Throughout Reception the children are supported in reaching the end of year expectations. These are called the Physical Development Early Learning Goals.

By the end of Reception children at the expected level in Gross Motor skills will:

Negotiate space and obstacles safely, with consideration for themselves and others;

Demonstrate strength, balance and coordination when playing;

Move energetically, such as running, jumping, dancing, hopping, skipping and climbing.

By the end of Reception children at the expected level in Fine Motor Skills will -  

Hold a pencil effectively in preparation for fluent writing - using the tripod grip in almost all cases;

Use a range of small tools, including scissors, paint brushes and cutlery;

Begin to show accuracy and care when drawing.