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Gross Motor: Improve

Infants and Toddlers

Reflecting on and improving your skills and knowledge to help children begin to develop gross motor skills is important work. Here are some ideas you can try with your coach or supervisor to build your teaching practices in this area:

Planning Goals and Action Steps

  • Work with your coach or supervisor to identify the teaching practices you want to build and strengthen. Here are some practices that help infants and toddlers begin to develop gross motor skills.1
    • Describe how children use and move their bodies (e.g., arms, legs, torso) during play and routine care experiences.
    • Provide frequent "tummy time" opportunities for nonmobile infants.
    • Play interactive games and sing songs that encourage children to move their bodies.
    • Provide a variety of toys, materials, and equipment that help children develop gross motor skills such as pulling to stand, balancing, walking, climbing in and out, jumping, and running.
    • Provide safe spaces and opportunities during play and routine care, indoors and outdoors, for children to use and move their bodies.
    • Adapt gross motor materials, equipment, and experiences to enable children with suspected delays, identified disabilities, or other special needs to participate. Talk with children's parents and specialists working with the child to get specific suggestions to meet each child's unique needs.
  • In home-based programs, effective practices may also include broader relationship-building practices such as those described in Building Partnerships: Guide to Developing Relationships with Families.
  • Create an action plan with timelines to help you use the practices consistently and effectively.

Focused Observation

  • Revisit the teaching practice that you outlined in your planning goals and action steps with your coach/supervisor. Together, plan for and schedule an observation where she can focus on how you implement the practices you've identified.
    • For example, if you chose to focus on the practice, Describe how children use and move their bodies during play and routine care experiences, you can ask your coach/supervisor to observe you during a time of day when you are helping young children dress and undress. Your coach/supervisor might watch and listen for the ways you describe and narrate how you are moving children's bodies or how children are moving their own bodies during the dressing/undressing process.
  • In home-based programs, observations may focus on how the home visitor engages with parents to identify, adapt, and use the identified teaching and relationship-building practices. They may also focus on how you model the practices.

Reflection and Feedback

  • What went well? What did you do? How did the child/children react or respond?
    • In home-based settings, how did the parents react or respond? How did their reaction support the relationship with their child? Their child's developing gross motor skills?
  • Cite specific evidence from the observation.
  • What seemed challenging? What did you do? How did the child/children react or respond?
    • In home-based settings, how did the parents react or respond? Their child?
  • Cite specific evidence from the observation.
  • Did your coach/supervisor offer feedback from the observation that was surprising? What supports do you need from her to refine and strengthen the practice? What else would help you strengthen the practice?
  • What would you do differently if you were to use this practice again?
  • What do you hope the child/children/parents will gain by using this practice? How will you know?

Preschoolers

Reflecting on and improving your skills and knowledge to help children learn, practice, and refine gross motor skills is important work. Here are some ideas you can try with your coach or supervisor to build your teaching practices in this area:

Planning Goals and Action Steps

  • Work with your coach or supervisor to identify the teaching practices you want to build and strengthen. Here are some practices that help preschoolers learn, practice, and refine their gross motor skills.2
    • Provide children with various ways to learn new gross motor skills, including exploration and guided discovery, visual demonstration or pictures, verbal or gestural directions, and hands-on assistance.
    • Provide many chances for children to practice, repeat, and refine gross motor skills.
    • Comment on how children use their bodies during play, learning activities, and daily routines.
    • Provide positive encouragement as children engage in gross motor efforts and tasks.
    • Provide safe indoor and outdoor spaces for children to engage in gross motor tasks.
    • Provide toys, materials, and equipment that help children develop gross motor skills.
    • Provide both structured and unstructured physical activities that support gross motor skill development.
    • Adapt gross motor materials, equipment, and activities to enable children with suspected delays, diagnosed disabilities, or other special needs to participate. Talk with children's parents and specialists working with the child to get specific suggestions to meet each child's unique needs.
  • In home-based programs, effective practices may also include broader relationship-building practices such as those described in Building Partnerships: Guide to Developing Relationships with Families.
  • Create an action plan with timelines to help you use the practices consistently and effectively.

Focused Observation

  • Revisit the teaching practice you outlined in your planning goals and action steps with your coach/supervisor. Together, plan for and schedule an observation where she can focus on how you implement the practices you've identified. 
    • For example, if you chose to focus on the practice, Provide safe indoor and outdoor spaces for children to engage in gross motor tasks, invite your coach/supervisor to observe you during outdoor play time. Ask her to watch for the strategies you use to engage children in large motor play and how you ensure children's safety during this play period.
  • In home-based programs, observations may focus on how the home visitor engages with parents to identify, adapt, and use the identified teaching and relationship-building practices. They may also focus on how you model the practices.

Reflection and Feedback

  • What went well? What did you do? How did the child/children react or respond?
    • In home-based settings, how did the parents react or respond? How did their reaction support the relationship with their child? Their child's gross motor skill development?
  • Cite specific evidence from the observation.
  • What seemed challenging? What did you do? How did the child/children react or respond?
    • In home-based settings, how did the parents react or respond? Their child?
  • Cite specific evidence from the observation. 
  • Did your coach/supervisor offer feedback from the observation that was surprising? What supports do you need from her to refine and strengthen the practice? What else would help you strengthen the practice?
  • What would you do differently if you were to use this practice again?
  • What do you hope the child/children/parents will gain by using this practice? How will you know?

1Massachusetts Association for the Education of Young Children, Massachusetts Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers (Boston, MA: Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, 2010), 66–67, 145–147, Physical Health and Wellbeing, http://www.eec.state.ma.us/docs1/Workforce_Dev/Layout.pdf.

2California Department of Education, California Preschool Curriculum Framework Volume 2 (Sacramento, CA: author, 2011), 133–135, 156–164, Physical Development, http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/documents/psframeworkvol2.pdf.

 

Last Updated: July 18, 2018