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Basic Principles of Motor Development | b.ed notes | Childhood and Growing Up

Basic Principles of Motor Development 

Childhood and Growing Up b.ed notes 


Principles of Motor Development 


Motor development is one of the important development of children because other types of development are directly based on it. Motor development is defined as children gaining complete control over their bodily activities by coordinated at of their muscles and nerves.

Hurlock (1978) has defined Motor development as , “Acquiring control of body movement by the coordinated actions of muscle nerves and nerve centers is called Motor development.” 


For example, an infant whose muscles and nerves in the arms and legs continue to develop and those There is proper coordination between the two, the process of walking with the help of hands and feet is faster in that baby and then walking with the help of only feet.

The principle of motor development tells us when different types of motor behaviour, such as crawling, running, jumping, etc., develop in children. And do all the children of the same age have the same functional behavior or different functional behaviours.

Psychologists have described the following five principles of motor development- 


(1) Motor development depends upon neural and muscular maturation –


At birth, the lower nerve center located in the spinal cord is more developed in infants than the upper nerve center located in the brain. Basically reflex actions are controlled by the spinal cord. This is the reason that soon after birth a new born baby has an important reflex action which is essential for their survival.

At the age of one year, some parts of the brain such as cerebellum and cerebrum develop, as a result of which the child starts doing some voluntary actions. Due to the development of the small brain, which mainly controls the balance in the body, the infant's motor behavior such as walking, Catching etc. seem to be more balanced.


At the age of 5 years, the small brain becomes mature and the functional behavior of children appears to be completely balanced.

Motor development also depends on the maturation of muscles. There are mainly two types of muscles – striped muscles and unstriped muscles. 

Striated muscles are directly related to motor behavior and all voluntary actions are controlled by it. The development of such muscles is slow in childhood, hence the development of voluntary actions in children is also slow.


(2) Learning of motor skills can't occur until the child is maturationally ready –


Children cannot be taught any kind of motor skill until their maturation is complete. In the absence of maturity, the training given or the effort made by the child himself may have some temporary advantage, but there cannot be a permanent advantage. For example, if a four-year-old child is trained to type, it is more likely that even after months of training


He will not be able to learn to type anything. The reason for this is that the child of this age is neither mentally nor physically mature enough to understand the training of typing and act accordingly.

(3) Motor development follows a predictable pattern –


Motor development takes place in children in a certain sequence. Hence it is predictable.

Motor development in children follows a sequence of types—the cephalocaudal sequence and the proximodistal development sequence.

In the cephalocaudal sequence, development occurs from head to toe. In other words, development occurs first in the head and neck regions, then in the arms and hands, then in the trunks, and finally in the legs and their fingers.

As a result, the child first learns to control the muscles of the head and neck, and then controls the muscles of the hands, arms and abdomen, and finally learns to control the muscles of the legs.


When the child learns to crawl, he first tries to move the upper part of the body forward. Similarly, when he learns to sit, he has to learn to hold his head before he learns and before he learns to walk, he has to learn to sit.

Thus we see that motor development takes place first in the upper part of the body and later in the lower part.

Motor development also occurs in children according to the proximodistal development sequence. According to this order, those parts of the body of the children, which are in the center of the body, develop first and the parts coming on the periphery of the body develop later.

According to this developmental sequence, functional development occurs first in the stomach, chest, arm and thigh (which are in the center of the body) and later in the knee, fingers, toes etc.


The predictable pattern of motor development is also informed by the fact that with the passage of age, the motor behavior of children becomes specific from general (mass). For example, a 2-month-old baby simply gazes at a colored object and accelerates the action of throwing its arms and legs. All these are examples of normal action. Then at the age of 6-7 months he moves his hand towards a specific object which is an example of a specific action.

According to some psychologists, the evidence that motor development is predictable is also that the act of walking in children is compatible with their total development. Perhaps this is the reason why a child who starts sitting early also starts walking early.

(4) It is possible to establish norms for motor development —


Since the developmental pattern in the infant is predictable, a norm has been prepared by the psychologists for different types of its motor development. 

By this standard, it is known that what kind of motor behavior is done by the child of which age. This gives a kind of guidance to both parents and teachers and they expect neither more nor less from the child of a particular age. Some special functional behavior by psychologists like sitting straight, standing, walking. 

Norms have been prepared for reaching and grasping an object. It has also been used to measure the intelligence of children.

(5) There are individual differences in motor development –


Although there is a consistency in functional development, that is, there is a pattern in it that is the same for all children, yet individual differences are found in such development.

As a result, different children do not reach the same level of motor development at different ages.

For example, if we take the example of sitting straight, then some child sits in 6 months and some in 10 months, health, diet etc. are some of the factors that make a difference in the functional development of children.

Teachers are more benefited by these rules of motor development, because on the basis of this, they are able to guide children properly and scientifically and also understand why a child behaves differently from other children of his age. ) lags behind or goes ahead.