St. Anne’s Nursery School
Curriculum Focus Evaluation
This term’s focus is Physical Development. Our three main foci are:
- To encourage children’s awareness of the importance and benefits of a healthy life style and independence skills.
- To encourage, develop and extend children’s gross motor skills and to support children’s growing confidence.
- To encourage, promote and extend children’s finer motor development.
The revised EYFS curriculum has given us an opportunity to review our thinking about young children’s development and understanding. A differentiation has been made between Prime and Specific areas of learning and Physical Development is one of the Prime areas.
Physical Development in the early years is central to children’s development. Children need to be offered opportunities to balance and move in order for the brain to grow effectively and to strengthen the cognitive and emotional processes that are crucial for later emotional development.
It is important to provide physical challenge for children both inside and outside. Children who develop their physical skills also develop their self-esteem and physical wellbeing. Those who persevere are more likely to ‘have a go’ in other areas of learning.
Physical Development is also learning about ourselves in relation to others. This includes, seeing things from others’ perspectives, understanding why rules can be useful and developing a range of ways to resolve conflict; all significant skills for life as an adult.
An interesting aspect of Physical Development which should not be ignored is the influence of physical competence on children’s social standing with their peer group. This is of specific importance to boys. It influences the way in which others perceive us, our popularity with certain groups and our overall social success. It is generally recognised that boys engage socially in larger groups, which have a more active focus. Therefore the perception of their physical skill can be particularly important.
All children are encouraged and given opportunities to develop their skills of climbing and balancing, using the bikes and scooters and engaging in ball games. They also have opportunities for structured games and dance in the hall.
All three classes have been supporting children in respecting each other’s space and in developing their self-help skills, such as independent toileting and putting on their own coats. We also discuss with the children the importance of a healthy life style; the need for exercise and sufficient sleep and the importance of eating healthy food. We cook a wide range of food with the children such as bread, vegetable stir fry and fruit salad and always name and talk about the ingredients.
We also support children’s finer motor development and teach them how to use equipment with respect and care. We give children on going opportunities to develop their spatial awareness through activities such as shape posting boxes and puzzles (children who are good at puzzles also learn to read and write more easily). We support the children in using pens and a variety of tools such as staplers, hole punches and tape dispensers effectively, organising their materials and working towards an end product.
Our whole school review of this term’s focus indicates how the range of learning experiences has impacted strongly on the children’s skills and competencies relating to both their finer and gross motor development. The high level of the children’s individual achievement is recorded in their profiles and the staff teams continue to share their ideas to develop their practice.