What is motor skills ?
A motor skill is simply an action that involves your baby using his muscles.
Gross motor skills are larger movements your baby makes with his arms, legs, feet, or his entire body.So crawling, running, and jumping are gross motor skills. Fine motor skills are smaller actions. When your baby picks things up between his finger and thumb, or wriggles his toes in the sand, he’s using his fine motor skills. But it’s not just about fingers and toes. When your baby uses his lips and tongue to taste and feel objects he’s using fine motor skills, too.
When your baby is newborn, his brain is not mature enough to control skilled movement. Development starts at his head, and then moves down his body. So your newborn baby can control his mouth, face, lips, and tongue, with the rest following in time.
Acquiring motor skills is also a part of a child’s development. Mastering both fine and gross motor skills are important for a child’s growth and independence. Having good motor control helps a child explore the world around them and also helps with their cognitive development.
Importance of motor skills :
In any area of your baby’s body, his gross motor skills develop before his fine motor skills. So he’ll be able to bring his arms together before he learns how to pass a toy from hand to hand.
However, for your baby to really do things for himself, he’ll need to use gross and fine skills together. He’ll gradually get better at this as he grows into toddlerhood.
For example, when your child is about 18 months old he’ll be able to use a shape-sorting toy. He’ll use gross motor skills to hold his body steady enough to grasp the shapes firmly. He will then use fine motor skills to twist or turn each shape to fit the right slot.
Development of motor skills :
The child’s motor skills are developed in two places: at home and at school.
At home :
You can encourage your baby’s development by playing games that challenge him a little. When he can sit well unsupported, put his favourite toy just out of reach. This will mean he must balance as he makes a grab for his toy. Watch for any changes in how he uses his legs, arms and fingers.
When your baby gets the hang of a game,find another toy or activity that practices new skills. You could try letting him pick up peas, poke his finger in play dough, or pass a toy from hand to hand. Try not to make things too difficult for him. Any change you make should encourage him to have a go at doing something just a little more difficult, not give up trying. Your baby will find that developing his skills is more fun when he has a frequent change of position and activity. Small challenges, made often, are best for your baby’s development.
At school :
Dr. Maria Montessori, firmly believe that from birth a child can move and develop its physical movements independently. She advocated encouraging independence and awareness by providing child size furnishings for even the very young. Dr.Maria Montessori recommends that an adult can help the child to learn orderly movements so that as they grow older, they gain more control over their bodies. Montessori lessons are themselves, a guide to movement.
There are ample of Montessori activities to develop the child’s motor skills: carrying the mat, rolling the mat,unrolling the mat, arranging a work on the mat, returning the work to the shelf are some of the activities which can fine tune the motor skills of the child. Children at this age (26) learn these tasks easily and take pride in their ability to do so independently. They perform them over and over with a sense of accomplishment.
The Activities in Montessori education can focus on separate aspects of the motor skills or combine fine and gross motor skills together to improve coordination and help children use both in harmony. Montessori education doesn’t just want children to learn how to move. The goal of this Montessori education is to give a child grace and confidence in their movements, so they feel comfortable exploring the world. To make this a reality, rhythm and balance are emphasized very early i.e in early child hood.