Physical Development

Back to Overview


The physical development of babies and young children must be encouraged through the provision of opportunities for them to be active and interactive and to improve their skills of coordination, control, manipulation and movement. They must be supported in using all of their senses to learn about the world around them and to make connections between new information and what they already know. They must be supported in developing an understanding of the importance of physical activity and making healthy choices in relation to food.

Aspects of Physical Development

Physical Development is made up of the following aspects:

  • Movement and Space – is about how children learn to move with confidence, imagination and safety, with an awareness of space, themselves and others.
  • Health and Bodily Awareness – is about how children learn the importance of keeping healthy and the factors that contribute to maintaining their health.
  • Using Equipment and Materials – is about the ways in which children use a range of small and large equipment.

What Physical Development means for children

  • Babies and children learn by being active and Physical Development takes place across all areas of Learning and Development.
  • Physical Development helps children gain confidence in what they can do.
  • Physical Development enables children to feel the positive benefits of being healthy and active.
  • Physical Development helps children to develop a positive sense of well-being.
  • Good health in the early years helps to safeguard health and well-being throughout life. It is important that children develop healthy habits when they first learn about food and activity. Growing with appropriate weight gain in the first years of life helps to guard against obesity in later life

Back to Overview