Perceptual Motor Skills

IMG_9271 - Version 2

I am now in full swing at my new school, and I am learning so much! While the values and goals of student education are very much the same, at the core, as my last position, there are many differences in day to day life.  One program that I wanted to share about is our PMP (perceptual motor program) in the early years.

My school has a “Huff and Puff” requirement of at least one hour per week of additional classroom physical activity. This means in addition to their weekly physical education class and their daily recess time, there needs to be more focus on movement.  In prep, this is the PMP program.

This program is designed to support gross motor development. Each week we set up five or six activities, and the kids rotate through them. The activities are very structured to support teachers, and there are explicit instructions as to what the children need to do.  For example, one station might be about jumping. If they are meant to jump with two feet, we might have instructions for the kids on how to get their stance ready, what to do with their arms, and how to land.  The activities include things that build leg and arm strength, balance, visual tracking, and coordination. And, as with most physical games and challenges, the kids love them!  Here are a couple photos of our kids at PMP:

IMG_9261 - Version 2

IMG_9268 - Version 2

IMG_9271 - Version 2

IMG_9294 - Version 2

Because I am teaching a composite grade (prep/1), I have found it fascinating to note the difference a year can make. My grade ones are absolutely more confident with most of these activities, and the prep students (on the whole) are still working out how to master many of them. It highlights how important it is to give children the chance to practice movement.

In the states we had a Motor Moms and Dads program, which also was designed to support gross motor skills. In Motor Moms and Dads, we had a time slot once a week, and students would go out in small groups or one on one to work with adults on these skills.  I think this is a great program.  Unfortunately, a child’s turn ends up being only five to ten minutes a week, which is, of course, not as much as we would like.  I love that kids get a full hour of practice in the PMP!

Do you have time dedicated to supporting children’s gross motor skills at school? How does your school fit it in?

2 Responses to Perceptual Motor Skills

  1. Catherine February 20, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    We have a motor lab for our Pre-K and Kindergarten kiddos at my school. It took a little to talk our principal into allowing us the space but the rewards are evident. The room is mostly for Pre-K. Still, the K’s use it on rainy days instead of heading outside for recess.

    I’ve seen marked improvements on motor control which has lead to GREAT growth in writing. Additionally – as you stated – there’s more confidence.

    We get to the lab twice a week, 25 minutes each time. Which is a lot when we have 3’s, 4’s and 5’s. Everything you’ve shown above – we do (ya us!) and a few others. I’d talk to your OT/PT and see if they have any other ideas you could incorporate.

    • Karen Langdon February 21, 2014 at 1:00 am #

      Your program sounds great! The great thing about a program like this is that it is really a one time investment – once you get the equipment/space, the rewards continue to pay off. I love the idea of using the resources on rainy days as well!