Physical development

Physical development is one of the prime areas of children’s learning and development. Children tend to develop these skills before they can master the more specific areas, for example literacy and mathematics. The prime areas support learning in all other areas. 

Physical Development is split into two key areas:

  • Moving and handling
  • Health and self care.

Children will learn to be self-aware and negotiate how their bodies move in the playground amongst their friends, sitting and being together in class, as well as specific skills when learning sports or for example to play an instrument or manipulate tools. Also big motor skills are as important as the small motor skills when it comes to learning to write. There are ideas of how you can support early writing skills at home on the Make a Mark, Make a Start factsheet.

Children start to recognise how to keep themselves and others safe and healthy. You may already be supporting your child through routines as home such as giving them time to dress themselves and support them to do up buttons and zips unaided, promoting they clean their teeth for at least two minutes twice a day, or supporting them to be independent at toileting and handwashing. You may encourage your child to tidy up after themselves and you can also play games that promote listening skills and safety awareness. There are some great ideas for supporting your child in the Starting School Together Booklet.

Making healthy choices is another big part of becoming independent. There are loads of great ideas for parents and schools, including free get active games which can be sent to you and ideas for eating healthy on the change4life website.