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Facing the Challenge of Motor Development

by Phyllis S. Weikart
May/June 1998
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/facing-the-challenge-of-motor-development/5012160/

Five year old Jason, playing with friends outside, was trying to skip. His teacher noticed that he was having a hard time executing an accurate pattern - he did a half skip, meaning he did not hop after his second step. His attempted skip was STEP/hop, STEP, rather than the accurate pattern of STEP/hop, STEP/hop.

Jason is a typical five year old of the '90s. His half skip pattern arouses curiosity. Why are more and more children having difficulty with basic movement skills and timing patterns? With a good experience base in the natural process of growing up, these basic skills should be in place by the time a child enters kindergarten. However, many children today do not seem to have enough motor development opportunities to promote the necessary basic skills, i.e., crawling, hopping, and skipping. And without these opportunities, motor coordination and steady beat independence generally fail to evolve.

Yet most adults feel that the development of motor coordination is a natural event. In a 1998 international study of early education by researchers at the High/Scope Foundation, most groups of parents and groups of teachers in 15 countries rate motor/physical skills at least of moderate importance for their children. Yet they ...

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