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How good are your pupils' Fundamental Movement Skills?

Posted by Rachael Webb on Apr 12, 2021 9:17:22 AM

The development of Fundamental Movement Skills is key to ensuring a lifelong involvement in physical activity. Without the development of these key skills children are less likely to establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle into adulthood.

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does your school environment promote physical literacy?

Evidence shows that active children have better life outcomes. Research by the Aspen Institute has shown that physically active young children will:

  • Be less likely to be obese
  • Achieve higher exam results
  • Be less likely to smoke or take drugs during adolescence
  • Have higher self-esteem
  • Be more likely to go into Higher Education
  • Have higher future earnings
  • Be healthier, less medically dependant adults
  • Produce active children and the cycle starts again….

However, most children do not develop sufficiently high levels of Fundamental Movement Skills naturally. As with Literacy, Physical Literacy needs to be encouraged and nurtured from a young age to ensure they reap lifelong benefits.

Research suggests that it takes between 240 and 600 minutes of instruction time for the average pupil to become proficient in Fundamental Movement Skills. From this they develop the skills to allow them to fully participate in the joys and benefits of sport for recreation and if they wish, competition.


three-year olds

The early years of schooling are critical. Three-year olds are developing the basic skills required for play. They should be able to:

  • Climb
  • Run on toes
  • Balance on one leg
  • Kick a ball from a standing position

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four-year olds

Four-year olds are quickly building on their basic skills, learning from their play environment. They should be able to:

  • Gallop
  • Hop forward
  • Throw a ball
  • Kick a large rolling ball

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five-year olds

By five years old children engage in a variety of creative play, including copying and role play. They should be able to:

  • Run through an obstacle course
  • Skip forward
  • Maintain balance on a moveable platform
  • Throw a ball with force and direction

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what your school can do to support physical literacy

Does your outdoor play environment:

Have apparatus that pupils can climb using both lower and upper body strength?

Have apparatus that pupils can balance upon and jump from?


Do you have a Daily Mile track or running area to encourage the children to run? It does not need to be flat, in fact slightly undulating ground is better.

Do your pupils have access to balls at playtime which they can throw, kick and catch? This may need the play environment to be divided to provide a special ball area which does not disrupt the climbing or creative areas.

Do you have space for a MUGA (Multi Use Games Area) or sports pitch which can be used to play a variety of games? These areas can be utilised outside of school hours by the local community to provide more opportunity for the pupils as the grow to further enhance their Fundamental Movement Skills.

Does your play environment have a Physical Literacy Shed which contains skipping ropes, hula hoops, bean bags all to encourage agility and movement?

Do you have an imaginative play space where pupils can role play and create?


how we can help

We are passionate about the importance of Fundamental Movement Skills and helping schools to create outdoor play environments that support physical literacy.

Topics: nursery, ks1, eyfs, ks2