The importance of developing gross motor skills

Gross motor skills are those skills that involve big movements of the body. Think walking, running, jumping, and dancing. These start developing early in infancy when children begin rolling over and pushing up on their hands. But gross motor skills aren’t just about what’s happening with the physical body. They are in fact tied to much more than the development of muscle strength or physical ability.
Cognitive Development
Did you know that gross motor skills are an important part of cognitive development? Studies going all the way back to the 1950s show us that children use not only their minds, but their bodies to learn about the world around them. In order for kids to grow up smart, it’s important that they grow up active. Maria Montessori believed that physical movement was an essential part of cognitive development. During physical activities like sports, the cognitive lessons–from counting, to probabilities–are reinforced through the physical motions. Moving the body informs the growth and development of the mind.
Emotional Development
Developing good gross motor skills is also an important part of developing a healthy emotional life as well. We’ve learned that using gross motor skills helps people to let go of pent up emotion that could otherwise simmer inside and cause emotional strife. Just as was the case for cognitive development, emotional lessons are reinforced through the physical consequences that are processed during an activity. Being active physically helps to reset a child’s emotional centre, allowing them to process difficult situations and to learn to cope with the ups and downs of life.
Overall Development
Gross motor skills not only inform children about how to do things like kick a ball or run down a field, but also help them to improve their ability to think clearly and to be emotionally stable. When children play sports and thereby develop gross motor skills, they learn about control and release, about where boundaries are, and how to push themselves. And those lessons don’t stay on the field. They cross over into all areas of healthy development.
Source [Education (2010) Retrieved from: =]

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