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Motor Skill Development in Five Year Olds: A Must Read for the Kindergarten Parent

Aug 18, 2007
Between ages two and five, most physical developments occur rapidly. The most obvious physical developments are changes in body size and shape. More crucial changes involve the maturation of the brain and central nervous system. This maturation allows the mastery of motor skills that sets the five year old apart from a toddler.

During the preschool year children become slimmer as the lower body grows and some of the fat from infancy is burned off. The five year old child no longer has the sharp stomach, round face and short limbs. Major changes are taking place in their small bodies and the astute teacher must he aware of them to enhance, communicate, and target their lessons toward the individual child.

At age five, according to the book Early Childhood by Doreen Knight, children are experiencing different physical and developmental profiles and growth patterns. These include increases in height and weight and changes in body proportions. Interestingly as well, the changes in body portions from age two through five in well fed children, shows a gain of three inches and about four pounds per year! By age five,the average child in a developed nation weighs about forty six pounds and measures forty six inches tall.

The diet during the five year olds' years should be a healthy one. One of the most common deficiencies taking place in developed countries is iron deficiency anemia, a chief symptom of chronic fatigue. This problem occurs from an insufficiency of quality meats, whole grains and dark-green vegetables.

Gross motor skills, involving large body movements such as running, climbing, jumping, and throwing, improve substantially during the five year olds' year. Most young children practice their gross motor skills wherever they are, whether at school climbing on the slide, sandboxes, or strolling sidewalk curbs for balancing. Gross motor skills are clearly important to develop in the five year old, because they encourage him/her to be focused, adventurous, and playful.

Fine motor skills, involving small body movements, of hands and fingers, are a little more challenging for a five year old to master than gross motor skills. Such skills would include pouring juice from a pitcher into a glass without spilling or cutting food with a knife and fork. Five year old children spend hours trying to tie a how with their shoelaces The reason many five year olds experience this difficulty is due to the fact that they have not developed the muscular control patience, and judgment needed for the exercise of fine motor skills.

What I have discovered about five year old children's physical development is that their energy level and readiness to move contributes to a a willingness to participate in aerobic type teaching activities. Knowing this informs me that one must not just lecture to children in rote words, but to also utilize modeling and scaffolding with bright bold pictures and words.

Some five year olds can run, climb, jump, and throw. A teacher could even teach the famous school lunch nutrition pyramid with hand/eye coordinated moves.When teaching to five year olds, one must utilize the knowledge that they must use their hands, and work and play with a wide variety of objects. Lightweight balls, beads, and other fine motor manipulative objects can enhance student learning because it makes sense to the students' cognitive and physical development at this crucial age.
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