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A Foundational Movement Skills Programme

Many 5 year olds starting school these days are physically not ready for the demands of a mainstream classroom. There are countless theories and varied reasons offered for this by developmental experts and educationalists and depending on your own background and understanding, any combination or number of them could be accurate. The basic requirements needed to learn skills hasn't changed over the years, but it could be said that we expect more of our children at earlier ages and children get less time being encouraged to move and learn through movement. TV or computer screens have become the new teaching medium for children from very early ages to the detriment of movement.

When children are growing they develop control from their trunk out to their hands and feet. An infant works on head control first then on trunk control and finally the control of his extremities. Some of the skills that a child needs in order to read and write include head control, trunk control, eye hand control, visual motor control and fine motor coordination which includes hand and finger control, smooth eye tracking from left to right, and an ability to focus on a task - increasing attention span. If infants and children do not get enough encouragement or opportunity to build these same areas of skills, they can experience a wide range of difficulties in a learning environment.

Through my 25 years therapy experience, I suggest that this lack of opportunity is a major factor in many of the problems behind children's struggles with learning, which is intensified when they get to school.

The programme

Several activity ideas were developed into a programme of physical activities, that when practiced regularly provide a foundation of movement control from which students can then base mature movement skills on. The activity ideas are suitable for a group or entire class to undertake on a daily basis or a single child could practice them. The activities include tasks that require precise holding and working in set positions and therefore should be undertaken with adequate trained adult supervision and close observation to ensure that a student/s are in fact doing the tasks as they are set.

The programme can be undertaken with a minimum of equipment and outlay. The programme is purchased as an annual licence to operate under an initial set up and operating fee with the programme author (Jenny Andrew) providing the basic training and demonstration of the programme. The author will then keep in touch with the purchasing group/individual to check progress with the programme through the year.