Benchmarks For Infants and Toddlers
Research indicates that gross motor skills are a major predictor of a child’s school readiness. In essence they reflect “brain skills,” yet many parents and caregivers overlook their importance.
When infants and toddlers move their arms, legs, and other large body parts with large muscle groups, they are developing their gross motor skills. However, studies suggest that as children develop crawling, walking, running, and jumping, they are also developing their cognitive abilities.
How? Researchers believe it’s because many of the brain regions employed in motor skills development are also common to cognitive and perceptual skills. In effect, when infants and toddlers begin to work their large muscles, they are also exercising the neural networks needed for cognition and perception.
The correlation between the development of gross motor skills and cognition is born out by studies showing that preschoolers with poor motor skill development tend to struggle when they enter grade school. (Read more)