Physical development

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Physical development is the way the body increases in skill and becomes more complex in performance. Physical development is divided into two main areas which are Gross Motor Skills and Fine Motor Skills. Gross motor skills involve co ordination and control of the large parts of the body. Some of the movements that are included in gross motor skills are walking, running, jumping and climbing. Fine Motor Skills relate to the control of the smaller muscles , controlling finer movements such as pointing, drawing, writing and using cutlery;
When a child develops, patterns are followed and these are;
From simple to complex, where a child progresses from a simple action to a complex action for example a child has to stand before they can walk and walk before they can run. Each progression is becoming more complex as the child develops.
From head to toe. Physical development starts at the head and works its way down the body.
From inner to outer. A child will have to control the trunk of their body before they can hold object. They will have to use simple, gross motor skills to control their arms before they can master the complex, fine motor skills required to pick up a pencil and write.
From general to specific, a baby will express pleasure in a general way by widening their eyes, and their legs and arms move and shake in excitement showing their reaction with their whole body whereas an older child will show their pleasure in a more specific way by simply smiling.
The table below illustrates the average stages of physical development from three to twelve years explaining both gross and fine motor skills. It is important to realise that milestones are only a guide and can vary.

Age Gross Motor Skill Fine Motor Skills
3 Years A child can jump from a low step

Walk backwards and sideways

Stand and walk on tip toe

Stand on one foot

Ride a tricycle with pedals

Climb stairs with one foot on each step and descend with two

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