Motor Skill Development

Motor skill development in primary school is essential if a child is to be given the best chance in life. Children who develop strong motor skills from an early age are likely to go on and live healthier and happier lives than those whose motor skills are poor or underdeveloped.   According to Fishburne & Kirchner (1995) the objective of Physical Education is ‘to help each child develop and maintain an optimum level of health and well-being and to acquire the knowledge, attitude, and ability to maintain this state of well-being throughout life’. This is why Physical Education programs, particularly in Primary School are so important.
According to Sanders(cited in Charlesworth 1995, p. 618) ‘there is a critical period for gross motor development, from prenatal to age five, and for motor skills, from birth to age nine. These are critical periods for the brain to gather and store information regarding movement activities.’ Physical Education enhances children’s physical fitness and well-being whilst teaching them a wide variety of motor skills like running and jumping to more complex skills such as catching, throwing, dribbling, kicking, and hand-eye coordination. Children who develop these and other skills are more likely to ‘maintain their physical, mental, social and emotional health throughout their lives’ (Victorian Essential Learning Standards 2009).
According to Charlesworth (2008) ‘gross motor skill improvements enable primary grade children to get involved in organised sports and games.’ These children often go on to join sporting teams outside of their schools and continue to remain active throughout their later years as they have the skills, motivation, interest and attitude to so. Unfortunately children who leave primary school with underdeveloped motor skills are less likely to participate in Physical Education throughout high school and evidently later in life due to the fear of failure or self image.