As stated in the EYFS framework 2021, 'Physical activity is vital in children’s all-round development, enabling them to pursue happy, healthy and active lives7. 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.'
Physical Development Champions
Physical Development skills, and in particular Moving and Handling, has been a recent area of focus for the Nursery and as a result, the staff participated in a ‘Physical Development Champion’ training programme, led by Sharon Skade. As a result of the training, the staff have reported that the main impact was on their own confidence. They felt that they have become more skilled as a workforce and can justify their practice around the physical development aspects of the curriculum. Staff can now accurately assess the children’s starting points and can put the correct provision in place to help the children make good progress.
As a result of the training the Nursery has produced a display in order to promote physical development opportunities beyond school, and a leaflet for parents. The staff are now confident to share their learning with visitors to the Nursery. Click here to see our leaflet.
Opportunities for outdoor play
Opportunities for outdoor play are vital in the EYFS. Reddish Vale Nursery places equal value on outdoor and indoor play, and children can choose to play in the well resources outdoor area at all times and in all weather conditions (unless they are deemed to be dangerous).
We work on the premise that regular activity is vital for strengthening neural networks, where regular, intense exercise results in the growth of neurons to aid memory and learning. Opportunities in the outdoor area are designed to improve concentration, hand eye coordination, confidence and decision making.
Children who are given the opportunity to play outdoors are shown to have better planning, attention and inhibition where regular activity reduces stress, and increases self regulation. Children learn how to control their bodies, develop physical competence and an enjoyment of outdoors and to practice problem solving.
In order to ensure school readiness, Reddish Vale Nursery places high value on opportunities to promote independence in young children. Staff actively seek ways in which children can become more independent within their daily routines. Furniture and resources are organised to enable children to make their own decisions through making a wide range of resources available and accessible. Chairs have been removed from areas to encourage children to reach for the resources placed on tables.
As a result of the Physical Development Champion training, staff analysed times of the day in which opportunities for independence were not thoroughly utilised and changed daily routines as a result, such as snack time, lunch time and times where children would need additional clothing such as Nature school.