What is Physical Development?

Physical development refers to a child’s gross and fine motor skills. To increase strength, muscle control and coordination, the child requires adequate nutrition and fitness levels.

Physical development in children follows a directional pattern (Bayley, 1993):
• Large muscles develop before small muscles. These large muscles are in the body’s core, legs and arms. Children learn how to perform gross motor skills (crawling) before fine motor skills (drawing).
• The center of the body develops before the outer regions. Muscles located at the core of the body become stronger and develop sooner than those in the feet and hands.
• Development progresses from the top down, from the head to the toes. Experience Early Learning Framework includes five Physical Development skills.


Our integrated curriculum system uniquely weaves 35 research-based skills into playful games and discovery projects. The cross-disciplinary model supports a child’s on-going social-emotional, physical, language and cognitive development. See what children learn through play and download the Developmental Continuum of Skills.

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