Birmingham City Council
ST. THOMAS CHILDREN’S CENTRE NURSERY
What is Physical Development?
Physical development is about improving the skills of coordination, control, manipulation and movement. It
helps children to gain confidence in what they can do, and enables them to feel the positive benefits of being
healthy and active. It helps children to develop a positive sense of wellbeing.
Special Features of Practice
Challenging indoor gym equipment.
Exciting new outdoor areas.
Games equipment and outdoor multi-sport ball area.
Kitchen catering for all children and parents, providing healthy freshly cooked food.
Range of trips and outings including residential holiday at Dodford Farm.
Physical Development has been a priority area on our school development plan (07/08/09) and as a
consequence staff are skilled and confident in its delivery.
Provide a safe and stimulating environment.
Motivate children to be active and to feel the positive benefits of being healthy.
Help children gain confidence and a sense of wellbeing.
Provide equipment and resources that are sufficient, challenging and interesting and that can be used in a
variety of ways or to support specific skills (fine and gross motor.)
Planning and Organisation
Children have opportunities through free-flow play (indoor and out), and adult focused activities to use a
range of equipment and materials to develop appropriate skills.
PE sessions (over 3’s) are taught weekly in mixed ability family groups and cover the themes of gymnastics,
dance and games.
All children have the opportunity to swim with their parents or staff and sessions are led by trained
Our daily routines provide a good model of healthy eating and an active lifestyle and children are
encouraged to make choices about these. The nursery supports children’s understanding of how exercise,
sleeping and good hygiene are a part of being healthy.
Staff plan carefully, building on what children can already do, and identifying key skills and Physical
Planning makes learning objectives for Physical Development explicit.
The outdoor environment provides a range of different opportunities for Physical Development, matching the
ages and stages of our children as they progress through the nursery.
The Nursery environment (indoors and outdoors) is audited at times to maximise opportunities for Physical
Sufficient time is given for children to use a range of equipment to persist in activities, practising new and
existing skills and learning from their mistakes.
Children’s progress and physical skills are measured in a number of ways.
Children are assessed on entry and on leaving against the age bands of the EYFS (0-5s).
Progress Towards the Profile baseline assessment is used on entry to the Nursery School, and on
For ‘target children’ both of the above are completed mid year (0-5s).
Data is analysed to see where groups of children are making best progress, and to identify any
Observations and photographs are collated for target children and kept in their individual profiles to
monitor and track their progress.
A Transition Record records summarises children’s achievement in Physical Development at year
end, and is passed to their next Nursery class teacher, or to their Primary School
Inside and Outside
Children have the opportunity to choose indoor or outdoor play, for a large part of each day and well planned
adult focus activities are available.
Indoor and outdoor environments allow sufficient space to set up relevant activities for energetic play and
Children learn about healthy food and have the opportunity to grow, harvest and eat their own produce.
Parents are invited to participate in nursery activities through initiatives such as Special Fridays,
where they are involved for example in cooking or gardening with their children. Staff promote
Physical Development through these sessions.
Staff support parents with ideas to support the development of healthy habits at home.
Physical Development is supported through initiatives such as Walk to Nursery Week, and regular
visits to the swimming pool.
Staff give informal advice to parents on eating, sleeping and toilet training and are able to signpost
parents to health services through the Children’s Centre.
Staff report to parents on a regular basis informally and formally twice a year (in writing at year
Physical Development is split into three areas in the EYFS: Movement and Space, Health and
Bodily Awareness, and Using Equipment and Materials.
Children are expected to achieve the Early Learning Goals by the end of their Reception year.
The EYFS is used in setting learning objectives, in regular planning meetings.
The Day Care department plan specifically for Physical Development, now that it is clear in the
EYFS curriculum for children aged 0 to 3 years.
There are medium and long term plans available in all classrooms (and a copy in the dining room cupboard)
with suggested activities and ideas to help staff to deliver specific skills particularly in gymnastics.
The enriched curriculum includes relevant trips and outings on foot, including a residential holiday
on a farm and visits from the Life Education Caravan. All of these promote healthy, active lifestyles.
Planning for inclusion
All children are included in all learning opportunities.
The Nursery ensures that any reasonable adjustments are made to the curriculum and/or
organisation to ensure that all children have access to learning.
Teaching is well differentiated in all sessions, and children are ability grouped for a short daily
Group Time, for the Spring and Summer terms (3-5s).
The nursery provides time and opportunities for children with physical disabilities to develop their physical
skills in a nurturing environment and with adult support if necessary.
The Nursery teaches Physical Development in a very cross curricular way, but does have some
specific Physical Development resources. Large gymnastics equipment is stored safely in the large
cupboards on the dining room, along with boxes of small equipment such as balls, quoits, hoops
and beanbags for games and a selection of materials, scarves and ribbons for dance. Each room
has a range of resources in their outdoor storage sheds such as bikes, scooters and other wheeled
toys for pushing and pulling. Fine motor resources are stored in each of the classrooms e.g.
threading, scissors and one handed tools. Some of these resources have to be shared between
nursery school and day care. Staff take care of all resources, and are creative in using them.
Physical Development resources require special attention, as many are used regularly outdoors
and are easily lost or broken.
Updated 2 February 2010 (LS,DN,FB)
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