Writing the Evaluation

Jason appears to be a confident, well co-ordinated child who enjoys outdoor play. Dr Richard Woolfson defines gross motor co-ordination as "a child's ability to control general body movements involving arms and legs". (Woolfson 1996 page 12) Jason runs fast and smiles to show his enjoyment. He jumps, runs and climbs with easy. He shows spatial awareness as he swerves to avoid another child. When he climbs, he uses alternating feet, one to each step in an adult fashion. Jason's ball skills are developing well. He can throw and catch a large ball. Jason is a tall child when compared to his peers. This may be due to genetic inheritance or to nurturing. In order to grow and develop gross motor skills children need rest. Sleep restores the body and mind and it is during sleep that growth hormone is released. Children need a balanced diet with protein for growth, calcium and vitamin D for strong bones and carbohydrate for energy. Outdoor play provides ooprtunities to move freely and to enjoy the healthy benefits of fresh air and sunshine. Exercise is "a natural part of life". " It is especially important for young children who need to develop and perfect physical skills." (Beaver et al 1995 page 194)

Assess the child's stage of development.

Jason's gross motor skills are within the range of the norm for a child of 5 years. Hobart and Frankel state at 4 years "all motor muscles are well controlled" and the child "can turn sharp corners when running." (Hobart and Frankel 1995 page 119) Jason has good control when running and can stop safely, or changing direction to avoid a collision with another child. At 5 years, a child "runs on toes."(Hobart and Frankel 1995 page 119) The observation shows Jason "running lightly on his toes". Climbing steps with alternating feet is usually seen in a child of 4 years according to Sheridan (1991 page 10) Jason's skills are progressing to the norm for a 5 year old. According to Mary Sheridan, a 5 year old child is "active and skilful in climbing". As he climbs the steps of the slide, climbs over the bar, slides down and jumps off he shows "good balance and smoother muscle action". (Child Development Institute Web Site Developmental Sequence Age 5) Beaver et al say a child of 5 years "plays a variety of ball games quite well" (Beaver et al 1994 page 65) Between the ages of 4 to 5 years, a child "catches a large ball". (Geraghty 1988 page 88) Jason was observed playing a game throwing and catching a ball. During the observation he threw the ball accurately. He watched the ball carefully so he was able to catch it in his outstretched hands. The children were repeating a game they learned in PE. Repetition is an important way to learn and perfect a new skill. Jason's social skill enabled him to join in the game, follow the rules, wait his turn to play and enjoy the fun.

Personal Learning

I learned that Jason is a confident child who enjoys outdoor play. His confidence is shown in an upright posture. He has no fear of climbing, jumping or joining in ball games with his peers. Dr Woolfson's article explains how children develop co-ordination skills. He stresses the importance of giving support and encouragement to children to promote self-confidence. Clumsy children have a difficult time with activities involving gross or fine movements. "The most likely consequence of clumsines is that the child loses confidence, expecting to fail in any activity that requires co-ordination." (Woolfson 1996 page 13) I am now more aware of supporting children who are less confident than Jason.
I also learned more about the role of the adult during outdoor play. Children must be carefully supervised to avoid accidents. They need encouragement to try new skills and the opportunity to practice.

Helping the child to progress

Jason's gross motor skills are well developed for his age. To continue his progress he needs regular opportunities for outdoor play using a range of climbing and mobile equipment. Unless the weather is very wet and cold the children play outside each morning and afternoon. There is insufficient room to set up large equipment in the classroom but the Reception Teacher provides music and movement activites when there is no outdoor play. Jason seemed to enjoy playing the ball game with the other children. I could introduce other team games such as throwing and catching a small ball or bean bag, bouncing a ball to another child, kicking a ball and throwing overarm. Playing skittles may help to develop accuracy and aim when throwing a ball. Jason's skill needs to be recognised and encouraged so he continues to be confident and active.

Equal Opportunity

Actually, I included this in the previous paragraph by saying children need support to develop confidence to practice gross motor skills especially if they are unco-ordinated and clumsy.
The headings are for guidance only. Use them if they help you. An evaluation without headings may be more fluent but be sure to include all the criteria.

Knowledge of Child Development

Again the evaluation includes evidence of reading a variety of material.

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