FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT SKILLS
Developing a lifelong love of physical activity
Note: the development of the 'Clavering framework for teaching Fundamental Movement Skills' has been supported by a number of organisations, in particular the Department of Education, Victoria, Australia; the Department of Education, Western Australia, Australia; the Department of Education and Training, New South Wales, Australia; Sport New Zealand; the Youth Sport Trust; Sports Coach UK; UK Coaching; Sport Scotland; and Sport for Life, Canada.
The development of children’s Fundamental Movement Skills (FMS) at Clavering Primary School is a significant step towards establishing a lifelong commitment to healthy, active lifestyles.
FMS are the building blocks for movement. They are the skills which children need to participate successfully in all types of games, physical activities and sports.
FMS can be categorised under three headings:
- Locomotion skills;
- Stabilisation skills;
- Object manipulation skills.
Examples of these skills are shown below:
- Locomotion: walking, running, bounding, hopping, leaping, jumping (height), jumping (distance), rolling, galloping, climbing, sliding, skipping, jogging, skating, swimming, swinging, crawling and dodging.
- Stabilisation*: balancing, stretching, extending, flexing, landing, floating, stopping, twisting, turning, rotating, pivoting, bending, hanging, bracing, tucking, rolling, swinging and squatting.
- Sending: pushing, throwing, bouncing, kicking, punting, rolling an object, striking an object and rolling.
- Receiving: pulling, catching, stopping and trapping.
- Travelling with: dribbling (feet), dribbling (hands), dribbling (stick), carrying (hands), bouncing and collecting.
* These movements are performed both dynamically and statically in place.
Mastery of these skills is not just the ability to perform a given movement, but the ability to perform the movement in a proficient and controlled manner (often at speed).
Within the Clavering Curriculum for Physical Education (PE) and other physical activities offered at school, we devote a significant amount of time and expertise to improving the fundamental motor skills of our pupils.
Having researched and analysed outstanding practice in teaching FMS globally, we have identified twenty-two FMS that we consider to be essential if our pupils are going to successfully participate in the many physical activities, games and sports offered at Clavering and in life:
- balance on one foot;
- line or beam walk;
- forward roll;
- sprint run;
- hand dribble;
- foot dribble;
- underarm throw;
- overarm throw;
- chest pass.
These twenty-two skills were selected because together they represent a solid formation for the development of specialised skills, enabling pupils to participate in a wide range of physical activities.
WHY DO WE TEACH FUNDAMENTAL MOVEMENT SKILLS (FMS)?
The development of FMS is an important step towards ensuring lifelong involvement in physical activity. Without proficiency in skills like throwing, catching, kicking, leaping and balancing, children are less likely to explore the range of options available to them to establish and maintain active lifestyles. The development of movement skills occurs sequentially, with proficiency in FMS forming the basis for the development of more advanced sport-specific skills.
Research suggests that children who are competent in FMS are more likely to enjoy sports and activities and to develop a lifelong commitment to physical activity. Research also suggests that children who do not master FMS are more likely to drop out of physical activity in later life.
Children who have achieved proficiency in FMS have been found to have better self-esteem, socialisation skills and a more positive attitude towards physical activity. Research indicates that the improvement in self-esteem and confidence in performing FMS has a flow-on effect to other areas of a child’s education. For example, improvement in confidence in physical coordination has been found to help develop proficiency in reading and writing.
HOW DO OUR CHILDREN DEVELOP FMS?
Contrary to popular belief, children do not pick up FMS naturally as part of their normal growth and development. Children need to be taught these skills and given opportunities to practise them.
Children also need to be provided with:
- developmentally appropriate activities and equipment;
- visual demonstrations of skills;
- instruction and feedback;
- a variety of activities, with a focus on fun and challenge;
- a safe and positive learning environment.
At Clavering, teachers are provided with skill criteria for each of the twenty-two FMS, as well as additional teaching notes, including successful teaching strategies that are broken down into ‘beginning’, ‘developing’ and ‘consolidating’.
The optimal period for introducing FMS is in the early years of schooling. There are several reasons for this:
- this is a time of relatively slow growth;
- children have plenty of opportunities to practise in structured and unstructured activities;
- current movement patterns are not entrenched.
At Clavering, teachers in Early Years and Key Stage 1 assess all children against the skill criteria set out for each of the twenty-two FMS. The expectation is that all of the criteria will have been achieved by the end of Key Stage 1. Children struggling to grasp their FMS will be offered additional sessions as part of the school’s physical literacy intervention programme. Any children who have not achieved the set-out skills will be highlighted for additional physical literacy intervention sessions in Key Stage 2.
HOW ARE FMS LINKED TO SPORT-SPECIFIC SKILLS?
FMS provide the building blocks that enable a child to progress to developing sport-specific skills.
We cannot expect children to be proficient in producing sport-specific movements before they have mastered FMS.
A WORD OF WARNING: PHYSICAL LITERACY AND FMS
Fundamental Movement Skills are an essential part of physical literacy; however, they are not all of it!
At Clavering, we follow the Youth Sport Trust’s definition of physical literacy: ‘‘the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding that provides children with the movement foundation for lifelong participation in physical activity’ and we understand that ‘enabling children to be physically literate supports their development as competent, confident and healthy movers.’
When we are teaching FMS, we are developing motor competence in our children; however, if we just deliver physical literacy through FMS, our children will not get the whole picture. FMS have to be developed in the context of using them in the right space, selecting the right movement skill for the right environment, being aware of others in space, etc. This is the approach that we take in the Clavering PESSPA Programme.