Physical development is the key to formal learning, in particular literacy and basic learning skills.
In the early years, the lower brain goes through intensive development. This part of the brain helps with functions such as:
Attention and focus
Processing visual information
Processing auditory information
Being able to balance the body and keep it still
Memory and retention
The lower brain provides the foundation that the frontal cortex, the higher brain, will work from. The frontal cortex is where the neural wiring for formal learning happens. If the lower brain has not yet sufficiently matured and wired up strongly enough, then formal learning is sitting on shaky foundations and the quality of learning can be significantly affected. The child's access to formal learning can be even more significantly affected if they are not able to be still, listen, follow instructions, emotionally regulate, control their bodies and remember what to do! These are basic school readiness skills.
What stimulates and builds the lower brain? Movement. And we are living in a society where children are moving less and less.
Physical literacy is not merely about throwing and catching, and basic motor competency: that is not nearly enough. Development is holistic, it never works in neat boxes.
To be successful, physical development for learning must:
Achieve age appropriate executive function, attention, impulse control and emotional regulation - poor development here can be spotted and supported from as early as 18 months of age
Achieve age appropriate gross motor skills and fine motor skills
Achieve age appropriate co ordination and vestibular maturity - the vestibular system is essential for quality Speech and Language skills, and for phonics!
Achieve age appropriate eye control and eye muscle strength
Achieve age appropriate perceptual motor, spatial and visual motor skills
Children showing difficulty with school readiness, with formal learning, and children not achieving well with literacy always show difficulties within their physical literacy skills.
I offer :
* Training in understanding the whole picture of physical literacy and its importance for successful formal learning, in recognizing the signs of immature development and having practical strategies and approaches to progress them.
* Advice and support to work with groups, year groups, cohorts and if need be whole schools to address physical literacy needs and to improve physical readiness for formal learning
* Advice and support specific to incorporating strong physical literacy into the reception year, to help as many children as possible achieve proper readiness for formal learning
* Consultancy in developing physical literacy understanding, approaches and teaching.