Gross motor skills are the abilities required to control the large muscles of the body for walking, jumping, skipping and much more. The children are provided many opportunities in the day to use their gross motor skills. We go outside 3 times a day. 2 times on the playground and one time on the patio. Each outdoor time we have at least 30 minutes of play time for the children. Gross motor play is for the children to run, jump, climb, balance, throw, riding cars, and so much more. These activities help the children build strength and confidence in their bodies. Preschoolers need lots of opportunities for gross motor play to practice movement to help them learn and grow.
Different types of Gross Motor Play
Locomotor – movement from one spot to another such as walking, running, climbing, jumping, hopping, galloping, sliding and skipping.
Non – locomotor – movement in a stationary place such as pushing, pulling, bending, stretching, twisting, turning, swinging, swaying, rising and
Manipulative skills – moving objects in a variety of ways, throwing, kicking and catching.
Developing all these skills helps their ability to do more complex skills in future activities like playing on a team sport.
While we enjoy seeing the children’s creativity with their imaginative and constructive play, we are seeing a lot of weapon play in the classroom. Weapons and violence are unfortunately a very real part of our world and present in the media. Children of course have a lot of curiosity about weapons and their power and show this through play. What children do in their play shows us what we they know, what they are learning and more of what they want to know. We foster their play and provide the means to expand the lay and father learning with planned experiences and use of various materials. Weapons and violence however are not what we condone.
When children engage in weapon play, they show acts of rough play, and aggressive behaviors. This can bother the children who are sensitive to this kind of play, and others may get frightened by it. We have a classroom of varying personalities and interests and we want to provide what is best for the class when it comes to play experiences that are fun and safe. We want our children to learn how to treat others and our focus is to be kind to one another. When we see weapon play, we talk to the children about how weapons hurt people, they are not safe and then we talk with the child about kind ways to play.
If you allow gun play at home, this is your right as you are allowing your child the opportunity to learn about weapons through their play. Be mindful to set some guidelines with this play such as: no pointing and shooting at other people; and grown ups re-direct the play when it becomes unsafe and unkind. Set parameters for the play: the where, the what, with whom, how much and when it stops. Having these limits can help make the play less aggressive. Weapon play at the preschool age is more the adventure, excitement and energy that is interesting to them.
If you allow weapon play at home, let your child know that is only for play at home, and not at school.
School is a weapon free zone.
It is so important for preschoolers to take time to rest their bodies. After engaging in play and activity throughout the morning they’ve kept their bodies and brains busy! Nap and rest give the children’s bodies a chance to rejuvenate and give their brains a chance to rest and recharge. We nap every day from 12:30-2:30.
If your child is not a napper, give them a time for down time like resting with books, or listening to soft music that helps calm their body. Music can be beneficial because it is so soothing your child may fall asleep. Some children like to have their backs rubbed; a gentle soothing touch is another relaxation for their body.
We talk to the children too how resting their bodies gives them more energy for the rest of the day. We also talk about how when we rest our eyes and ears it helps us focus on tasks and activities and to listen to others.
In the developmentally appropriate classroom, children:
Create…rather than duplicate
Move…rather than wait
Attempt to solve their problems…rather than tell the Teacher, to have to solve them.
Speak…rather than listen passively
Explore their interests…rather than just learning about what the teacher thinks they should learn.
Make choices…. rather than being told.
Make their own lines…instead of coloring within the teacher’s lines.
Write their own books…rather than fill in worksheets.
Create art…rather than do planned crafts.
Decide…rather than passively submit.
Learn through experience…rather than by rote.
Appreciate the process…rather the product.
Ask questions…rather than being told facts by adults.
Then – figure out the answers…rather than being told facts.
Learn and use skills that we are of interest and meaningful…rather than vague, abstract concepts that have no real significance to them.
Have a schedule based on their needs…not the needs of the adults or the program.
Adapted from “The Butterfly Garden” by Sandra Crosse
Lakewood Child Care Center is licensed by Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and has a 5-star rating from Ohio's Step Up to Quality (SUTQ) Program.
Lakewood Child Care Center I 1450 Belle Avenue I Lakewood, Ohio 44107
216-228-5437 I firstname.lastname@example.org