Mobility: So much more than a physical milestone

 

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'Physical/motor development and psychosocial development are strongly tied to one another. Each new motor skill helps build a toddler's sense of self worth.'
(Puckett, Black & Moriarity, 2007)

As Term 3 commences, many of our babies are beginning to take their first steps. This is an exciting time as one of the most eagerly anticipated milestones comes to fruition. Initially thought of as a physical pursuit, the emergence of this skill is in fact about so much more.

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Despite the physical transformations that occur during the first two years of life, our focus as infant and toddler educators is deeper and a lot more complex than simply ensuring our children are meeting developmental milestones. We typically marvel at many of the transitional phases the children move through before mastering the skill or ticking the milestone box.

As usual, dispositions underpin our teaching, observing the children’s unwavering motivation, concentration and perseverance throughout the process of mastering a new skill. This reveals much about the children as future learners.

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Increasing motor skills and the ability to move around independently supports the children’s acquisition of self help skills. As children begin to become more successful in doing things on their own, their sense of pride and self worth grows and this in turn motivates them further.

Mobility, whether it be in the form of crawling, cruising or walking, opens up a multitude of possibilities for learning, both indoors and in the garden. Importantly, it also enables social connection. We often observe the fence connecting the Nursery and Preschool garden to be the children’s first port of call when they become physically autonomous.

The children often assume this standing position at the fence to observe the activity of their older peers. It is a wonderful place to connect with older children from other classes and of course reconnect with siblings throughout the day.

Mobility, while empowering the children to pursue their interests independently, extends far beyond the domain of physical development. It is in fact a catalyst for the children to connect with others and engage with the physical environment as well as a tool to explore their emerging sense of self. All these elements intertwine to create a firm foundation for our Nursery children as Abbotsleigh’s youngest learners.

 

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