Skills Development – Physical play is as vital as the academics

Skills Development – Physical play is as vital as the academics

5 ways skills development helps young children

UCS doesn’t let a challenge get in its way of providing the learners with a well-rounded education. In fact, the educators at the school have simply learned to think and work out of the box. One example is how the school tackles skills development. With very little outdoor play space available on the school premises, deputy principal Louise Tamboer makes use of the public parks in the community for the school’s skills development programme for its young primary school learners.

Vital Development

The children need to develop ball skills, cognitive skills, eye-hand co-ordination, gross-motor skills, and creative thinking as well as auditory, tactile, gustatory and olfactory perception. And the two community parks in the area make ideal settings for physical play while developing gross motor and ball skills in the outdoors.

“Children love nothing more than playing in parks. So once we moved our skills development classes into the public parks, they became our most anticipated lessons of the week,” says Louise.

Now, whether sunny or cold, the children and teachers make their way in an orderly fashion every Thursday morning to the various parks close to the school for a morning of outdoor fun.

“We split the grades up. Grades 1 to 3 go to one park and 4 to 6 to another. The learners spend at least one-and-a-half hours kicking balls and improving their gross-motor skills on the playground equipment,” Louise explains.

“Ideally our children should be doing this on a daily basis but we sadly lack the space and don’t have the funds for things like jungle gyms. It would be nice but play equipment is a luxury when we are caring for hundreds of children, most of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

Fortunately, the school is able to encourage fine-motor skills in the classroom by including fun activities such as knitting, weaving and bead-threading. These skills also develop creativity in the children.

Skills development in the form of physical play is just as important to growing children as learning to read and write.

Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. They learn to co-ordinate their movements which promotes confidence and encourages them to explore their environments.
  2. They socialise which helps them connect and learn to operate appropriately in the world.
  3. They keep fit and healthy which is fundamental to a child’s physical growth and development.
  4. They learn to think creatively as they negotiate obstacles in their landscape and play imaginary games.
  5. They have fun which is vital for children to maintain a good balance in life.

At UCS emphasis is placed on holistic development by encouraging both personal and academic growth in all our learners. Find out about our programmes and facilities to see how we educate well-rounded children.