Sample Essay on Fundamental Motor Skills

Fundamental Motor Skills

Fundamental motor skills are basic reflexes performed by the child’s muscles in response to a need or reactionary skill. In the developmental stages of the child, the motor skills are usually slow, as the child’s brain system has not developed much, especially the part regarding balance and motor reception and transition. Children in the 4-11 age brackets are in the formative period and the speed and precision of motor skills are slack. Therefore, a patronized approach and training is usually incorporated for best grasping and development of motor skills. Unless undiscerned illnesses like Alzheimer or epilepsy non-evident, the development profile of the child’s motor skills are expected to follow the normal growth curve. Fundamental motor skills include the child’s mastery or finesse in the following activities running, kicking a ball, throwing and even hopping. There are complex more demanding movement or navigation not easily performed by the child in the 4-11 age bracket.

The study concentrated on a male child, 6 years of age. An active physical session with the child was incorporated in the study. This involved play sessions with the child and even assessment of basic errands performed by the child. The study tried to unearth the impact of mastery of these motor skills on the future motor behavior. The ultimate motor skills assessed in the child included running, hopping, standing long jump, throwing and kicking ball.

Standing long jump skill and finesse was less developed. The child was positioned to stand near vertical and a prompt (a fruit or a toy) was placed above his head at a reasonable height (30 cm). The first long jump was sloppy, uncoordinated and below par as the child had to process the height and the amount of force to catapult the body to that height. The first jump was short and did not even reach half the height. Both legs were used as a catapult though they were flat-footed before the jump. This did not provide the needed force for the jump. The feet have to be inclined for the muscles and toes to provide the catapult (Kochenderfer-Ladd, 2012). The height of jump successively increased with each jump though it did not hit the 30 cm mark.

Running action is an enhanced walking skill, though it is done at a faster rate. The child in focus depicted immature running style. He needed flat-foot contact to spring up the next step (Schachter, 2015). The motor coordination and balance was sloppy. Before the child took the first step to running, the right foot was always the starter otherwise, the child would lose confidence and depict chaotic motor behavior. This is expected of a 6 year male as their motor skills grow slowly and climax at a later stage, even up to 17 years. The arms are bridged to the side and the steps taken are short. The time between steps is longer compared to experienced runners. This depict the child is in the formative phase of the locomotor skills.

The ball was used in evaluation of the child’s kicking skills. In kicking the ball, the child had to coordinate his intuitive skills and the leg muscles to kick the ball. The bearing and precision of the kick was not deliberated in the study. Coordination was key in achievement of better kick with considerable strength. In the study, the child was fit kicking as he took shorter periods between processing and kicking. Children in earlier years take long as the leg is swung back to kick and the strength to kick the ball is added when the foot reaches the ball. This depicts the coordination and the judgment of space between the ball and the leg (Kochenderfer-Ladd, 2012). With repeated kicking exercises with the child, the coordination took an upward profile as the processing time reduced and the kick became better and stronger.

Regarding the complex movement or motor response, throwing while running was used. The child was handed a ball (both small and medium-sized balls were used in the study) before prompted to run. The distance and accuracy of the throw was used to analyze the motor skills (Daniel  T. Corp, 2013). The running pace involves slow steady steps for a short distance, about 2.5 meters. The course of the ball during the child’s throw followed the movement of the arm. This showed significant control of the arm muscles. The coordination between the running steps and the throw was not continuous. He had to intermittently stop to make a throw. The child threw the medium-sized ball far as compared to the small-sized ball. The medium-sized ball had considerable weight needing more strength and the reason for the longer throw (Winsler, 2006). During the throw, the child’s body posture was nearly vertical. There was little bending of the upper torso for extra catapult. The arms were also not stretched out to increase the catapult distance for the balls. The child was obviously in the developing phases of motor response and reaction. There was little bending of the knee to provide extra catapult. Experienced throwers would usually stretch out the leg to increase the base surface area for better stability and longer catapult for the throw.

Dynamic systems theory is better and suitable in explaining the development of a child’s fundamental motor skills as compared to maturation theory. In dynamic systems theory, the environment plays a part in the response or action of a child’s fundamental motor skills. The child uses the environment and what he/she perceives to perform a motor skill/reaction. For example, throwing a ball; the child realizes using the ball’s weight can catapult longer throws by slacking the hand a little before the first throw and providing more force for a longer throw. Maturation theory signifies only the effect of age in the child’s development. The development of fundamental motor skills is dependent on age only and does not include external factors like the environment. This is its main limitation in explaining the child’s motor skills unlike the dynamic systems theory.

Fundamental motor skills and response are a build up for future motor response and skills. Performance of the child during should not be basically used as a standard for the future child’s motor skills though it applies in some instances. With more practice and training, the child’s motor skill would surely improve.

References

Daniel  T. Corp, H. G. (2013). Corticomotor Responses to Attentionally Demanding Motor Performance: A Mini-Review. Frontiers in Psychology, 161-165.

Kochenderfer-Ladd. (2012). Human Developmental Process. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 19-23.

Schachter, R. E. (2015). An Analytic Study of the Professional Development Research in Early Childhood Education. Early Education and Development, 1057-1085.

Winsler, A. (2006). Early Childhood Education and Development. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27-31.