Locomotor skills are the foundation of large muscle movements and the cornerstone of gross motor coordination. There are eight basic locomotor movements which include: walk, run, hop, jump, gallop, skip, leap and slide. Research suggests that once a child can walk and run comfortably then he/she is ready to learn the other six movements. Research from the University of Michigan suggests that these skills should be learned between two to seven years of age.
These eight skills are crucial to the development of not only a child’s sensory motor skills, but their overall well-being and success in life. Being able to practice these skills can help a child with a variety of everyday activities. Self-care skills such as dressing can be influenced, as well as the child’s tabletop posture and core strength. The development of these skills can also impact children at school: from simple playground skills and carrying a backpack to fine motor skills such as writing, drawing, and cutting. Their ability to perform certain movements can also affect their cognitive planning strategizing and even their overall behavior in the classroom. All these factors contribute to how the child performs academically.
SENSORY MOTOR PATHWAYS STENCILS AND CURRICULUM
The Peaceful Playgrounds Sensory Motor Pathways Set is based off the “Three E’s of Movement:” Enrichment, Exposure to a wide range of activities, and Exploratory movement opportunities. It is designed to aid children in the progression and mastering of the eight crucial locomotor movements. It includes five stencils: vari-beam, block walk, crossover walking grid, hopscotch court, and midline jumping grid. In addition to these stencils, the set includes a total of 71 different activities that utilize the eight basic locomotor skills. Each activity is specifically designed to correspond with one of the included stencils. There are also an additional seven activities that can be executed anywhere.
The Sensory Pathways set also has nine vocabulary cards with the definitions of some of the basic skills. Adults can use these cards to make sure the children are practicing locomotor skills and doing the movements properly. There are even six at-home parent cards with fun games that parents, and children can do together. As well as assessment cards that can go along with each stencil, with a check list of movements. Teachers can use the assessment cards to test a child’s ability to properly perform a variety of skills.
With the recent increase in the use of technology by children, many students are not developing their locomotor skills as efficiently as they used to. The use of the Peaceful Playgrounds Sensory Pathways Set can be beneficial for developing these crucial skills and can be utilized by children of ages 4-9 years. Watch as your child not only progresses physically and know that these activities have benefits for attention, allowing a child to focus and can calm a child before returning to a demanding cognitive activity.