What motor skills do children need for school?

What motor skills do children need for school?

There are 5 key motor skills that children need for school. These motor skills include:

  • Visual tracking
  • Core strength
  • Crossing the midline
  • Spatial awareness
  • Shoulder stabilisation

school motor skills activities

The motor skill called visual tracking starts when a baby looks up at their caregiver during a feed.


Visual tracking is not only needed for communicating through eye contact, it is also needed for following the location of a moving object, dodging our friends running near us in the playground, and learning how to read.

Find out more here - free visual tracking handout


why is core strength good for children

We sometimes think that core strength is just being able to do sit-ups or hold the plank. But this is definitely not the case.


Core strength is about the muscles of the stomach, hips, gluteals, and back and each of these muscle groups' ability to hold the body upright in a range of different positions, against the force of gravity.


We need core strength to be able to sit on the floor at mat time without needing to lean or lay down.


We also need core strength to be able to sit up at the table and do fine motor skill activities.


Learn more about core strength here


why children need crossing the midline skills for school


We need crossing the midline skills to be able to take off our jumper, create a painting, play cricket or golf, tie our shoe laces, cut with scissors, etc.
To observe children's current crossing the midline skills, ask them to draw a rainbow and look out for the following:
👉 did they swap hands?
👉 is the rainbow symmetrical?
👉 did they move their torso as well as their hand?
👉 is their rainbow small and in the middle of the page?
Learn more about crossing the midline and rainbows here


spatial awareness school readiness


Spatial awareness skills are needed for:
🧩 play
👉 balance
⚽️ ball sports
🏡 organising our own belongings
🙉 personal space
👋 transitioning from activity to activity in the classroom.
You can improve spatial awareness skills through daily activities at home like shown in this blog article


shoulder stabilisation fine motor skills

Shoulder stabilisation is the ability to keep our upper back (shoulder blade area) stable while moving our arms and hands freely.


Shoulder stabilisation is needed for fine motor skill development to be able to use a spoon without spilling our food, draw and write smoothly with a pencil, climb, crawl, swim, etc.


Improve children's shoulder stabilisation skills with these free gross motor skill activities


How to improve children's movement skills

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