According to new research carried out by Loughborough University, the number of four-year-olds not physically ready to start school is rising. Tests used to assess children’s physical development have revealed that nearly a third of children were ‘of concern’ and up to 90 per cent of children had some degree of movement difficulty.
Not only are the children not physically ready for school, the teachers are noticing it too. A supplementary study that question 25 primary school Foundation stage teachers also revealed that they believe children are starting school less physically ready than ever before. 80 per cent of the teachers surveyed said that they had noticed the decline within the past three to six years.
The tests used to assess the children included throwing and catching bean bags, articulating sounds, balancing and skipping. Many of the children were unable to complete, or had difficulty completing, the tasks.
Movement for Learning programme leader Professor Preddy said of the results,
“Children today are moving less, they’re developing less well, and they’re learning less; we need to do something drastic to make sure children now and in the future get the movement they need to develop properly physically, intellectually and emotionally,”
So how can we ensure that children are getting the physical development that they need? It’s crucial that schools and nurseries provide their Early Years children with an environment where they can move and develop their skills.
We’ve put together a list of our favourite Early Years Resources to inspire you to get active in your playground:
5 ways to design the perfect Early Years playground
Just because they’re little, doesn’t mean they can’t get active - advice guide
Using Poddely for Early Years outdoor play and learning
The DfE launches fairing funding for Early Years - funding advice
If you’re thinking about developing your outdoor space for Early Years, take some inspiration from our Early Years case studies - simply select EYFS from the drop down box.