As any parent knows, there are certain major milestones that your child hits as they grow up:
- When they start the weaning process
- Their first steps and words
- The ability to understand the word “no”
- Their first tooth
Each of these crucial milestones is a signal that your child’s body and brain are developing.
Not to mention, they’re momentous occasions – we hope you have a camera nearby to capture these special moments!
While these are no doubt major milestones, they aren’t the only ones in your child’s development.
While attending childcare, your baby will reach several other milestones, too.
Specifically, we’re talking about the development of gross and fine motor skills.
And you’ll learn all about them when you enrol in one of Academia’s childcare courses in Brisbane and Melbourne, as well as how you can help develop, nurture, and strengthen them.
What are motor skills, and how do they develop?
Like the name suggests, motor skills are all about movement.
These skills are essential for all tasks that involve physical activity or usage of the body, from ‘whole-body’ movements like running and jumping, to smaller, controlled movements like holding a pencil or joining a puzzle piece.
Children naturally develop these skills on their own, and at their own pace.
That said, there are some things adults (and in particular, childcare educators) can do to nurture these skills and ensure that they develop properly!
This is why play is so important in the typical child care routine. In addition to exercising their imaginations and helping them develop social skills like sharing, it also exercises their motor skills.
Before we get started on activities to improve motor skills however, we need to explain the two main categories of motor skills:
- Gross motor skills
- Fine motor skills
The difference between fine and gross motor skills
Fine motor skills
Like the name suggests, fine motor skills are all about precise movements.
These skills revolve around the ability of children to use their small muscles and perform accurate movements.
In particular it includes many activities performed using their hands, fingers, toes, wrists and even the tongue.
As fine motor skills develop, children experience greater control over and precision with each of these appendages.
As fine motor skills develop, children will learn how to independently:
- Pick up objects
- Drink from a cup
- Turn the page of a book
- Use pens and pencils
- Eat on their own
- Grasp objects in their hands
Once your child develops these skills, they’re well on their way to being able to do many things on their own!
Gross motor skills
If fine motor skills are all about precise movements, then naturally gross motor skills are the opposite – rather than fine, precise movements, gross motor skills refer to the child’s ability to use their larger muscles and perform whole-body activities and movements.
That includes activities like walking, jumping, skipping, running, and importantly, balancing.
Gross motor skills are also closely tied to other aspects of child development, like body awareness, hand-eye coordination, hand and finger strength, and sense of balance.
How and when gross and fine motor skills develop
Many believe that gross motor skills develop first, with fine motor skills following.
As such, many parents put off fine motor skills, assuming that they’ll come later.
The truth is however that fine and gross motor skills both develop from the moment a child is born!
Fine motor skills develop gradually from birth up until the age of 7 or 8. Every time a child smiles or instinctively grasps one of your fingers? Those are early fine motor skills in action.
That said, gross motor skills certainly finish developing much earlier, generally developing fully by the age of 5 years old.
So your 6 year old may not have the neatest handwriting, but can run, jump and play! This doesn’t mean they’re a late bloomer – rather, it’s a sign that they’re developing normally.
How childcare helps kids develop their motor skills
While you’re completing your childcare course in Brisbane, you’ll learn all about gross and fine motor skills, the timelines for both as well as the signs that a child may need some individualised assistance.
It’s essential that childcare educators can help identify children who may be struggling, or falling behind in their motor skill development.
More importantly however, childcare educators play a significant role in helping children develop these fine and gross motor skills.
That’s because the activities you include in your schedule exercise these skills, and help refine them.
Here are some examples of the types of activities you’ll learn about when you study childcare in Brisbane…
Activities that help develop gross motor skills
Gross motor skills are best developed outdoors where children can play around and have the opportunity to make bigger movements.
Here are some activities that you can explore to develop their gross motor skills:
- Visiting a playground
- Sing and dance party
- Ball games – catching and throwing
- Pushing and pulling objects like a cart or walker
- Crawling and climbing
Best of all, these activities require minimal equipment – all you need is enough space to keep kids safe from each other while they’re playing with a hula hoop or showing off their hopscotch skills.
In addition to training their gross motor skills, these activities are also great fun!
Activities that help develop fine motor skills
There are many activities childcare educators can integrate into their daily programs to improve fine motor skills.
You don’t need any specialised equipment, either – some examples of activities that help children utilise their hands and fingers include:
- Finger painting and drawing
- Stacking blocks and building towers
- Craft activities like beading
- Making paper cut-outs
- Creating clay figures
- Soaking and squeezing the sponge
These activities and games are actually pretty simple – but with all the gripping, squeezing, stretching, and controlling involved, it’s easy to see how they’re essential to developing fine motor skills.
Explore Academia’s childcare courses in Melbourne or Brisbane
So you’re passionate about helping kids develop. Perhaps it’s that rewarding sense of having played a crucial role in their development.
Alternatively, you could be a passionate parent yourself, looking to turn your caring nature into a rewarding career!
Either way, our childcare courses in Melbourne and Brisbane will help you turn your passion and love for kids into a career filled with plentiful job opportunities.
Academia trains and prepares childcare educators for their career in childcare. Whether you’re just starting or making a late career change, we’ve got the right childcare course for you!
Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30113)
In addition to learning the basic skills that you need to be a childcare educator, the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care will also teach you about important theoretical concepts, including fine and gross motor skills.
You’ll discover how to design day-to-day activities and build a caring and supportive environment for kids that helps develop these crucial skills.
Learn everything that you need to become a childcare educator and acquire essential skills in:
- Child development
- Nutrition and diet
- Legal obligations
- Work health and safety
- Learning frameworks
- … and more!
This childcare course is capped off by 120-150 hours of work placement in a certified childcare facility, where you’ll get the opportunity to put your skills into practice.
Learn more about the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC30113)
Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC50113)
Planning to take your career to the next level?
By completing the Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care, you’ll learn how to lead and manage a daycare or childcare environment.
With a focus on planning, creating, and implementing programs in early childcare services, this course is the perfect start to a fruitful career!
You’ll also be trained in mentoring and working in partnership with families to provide appropriate education and care for children.
Learn more about the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care (CHC50113)
Ready for an exciting career in childcare? Enrol in Academia’s childcare courses today!
Are you Interested in studying childcare? Don’t know where to start?
Our course advisors are more than willing to help.
Contact us today for any of your questions about studying with Academia: