Today's four-year-olds often 'not physically ready' for school, experts warn

According to the Independent’s article, new research has shown that there is a “concerning” number of today’s four year olds who are not physically ready to start school and their mobility levels are at an all time low.

What’s the Problem?

Specialists that monitor children of school age found a higher number experience balance and coordination problems than previously thought which ultimately affects their ability to learn in school. Researches from the University of Loughborough have associated these problems with children being less active in their early years than previous generations, with typical, physical movements associated with play being reduced and largely replaced by the introduction of technology.

Tests have been taken to assess Foundation Stage children and their physical development in their first year of school; the results of these were surprising, almost a third of children were “of concern” in regards to their motor skills and reflexes and nearly 90% of children demonstrated a degree of movement difficulty for their age.

The tests also suggest that around 30% of children start school with symptoms associated with dyslexia, dyspraxia, or ADHD – all of which can be improved through physical activity, however the children aren’t doing a suitable amount of physical activity on the whole.

As a result of poor physical development, childrens’ ability to complete simple tasks such as sitting still, holding a pen, putting on their shoes, and most importantly reading – all of which are essential for school.

How we can help?

While physical development is part of the Early Years curriculum within nurseries and schools, there appears to be a lack of understanding on how to deliver this, there is a lack of awareness and understanding particularly on the kinds of activities that can be included.

However, here at Premier Transition, we provide all the resources and staff members to deliver our Play-Trition programme as well as weekly home learning opportunities to engage parents.

Professor Pat Preedy, who co-leads the Movement for Learning programme, said  “Children today are moving less, they’re developing less well, and they’re learning less; we need to do something drastic to make sure children now and in the future get the movement they need to develop properly physically, intellectually and emotionally”.

Research has shown a clear link between early movement and children’s development and learning. Premier Transition’s Play-Trition programme helps children do these movements they should have had the opportunity to do when they were younger to prepare themselves for learning and making the progress they should in school.

Researchers gave a daily programme to children that gave them the opportunity to move, improve motor skills and develop primitive reflexes; they found that the majority of children experienced dramatic physical and academic improvement. This is further evidence that our Play-Trition programmes can not only help children physically, but also academically.

What is Play-Trition?

Play-Trition is a play based learning resource developed around the principles of the EYFS, supporting young children to begin to understand and make healthy lifestyle choices. There are two lots of six week programmes based around our Play-Trition characters Joe and Emma. During these programmes, children experience and explore different foods, find out where they come from and learn what is healthy and what is not healthy so they can understand and make more educated decisions on their health. A big part of the programmes are about discovering the impact what you eat has on your body, the importance of breakfast, how food gives you energy and how to keep healthy teeth are also a big part of the programme.

Listen to the Experts

Listen to an interview with Emma Perry at the NTE discussing the benefits of the Play-Trition programme and how it promotes a healthy lifestyle not only for children but for the whole family.

Get a First-Hand Opinion

Watch nursery teacher Jack Flint explain the positive impact Play-Trition has had on the children at Griffe Field Nursery by clicking the image below. Jack has experienced first-hand the benefits this programme has had on the children at nurseries so his opinion should be valued highly.