With this in mind, staff at Kormilda College in Darwin are rolling out a comprehensive motor skills assessment focussing on early years students.
“What we decided to do this year with our primary ed program was to actually map out where our students are from T to 4, where they [are] actually with their fundamental motor skills,” Tarrant Edwards, Head of health, physical education and sport explains.
“So it’s a crucial part of their actual P.E program and it gets more complex as they get older,” he says.
Hoping to avoid excessive interruption of their PE classes, staff decided they would take the kids out of class for short periods and film them performing basic skills.
“Then we could take the data back to the office and ... sit there with our little checklist and sort of pinpoint, ‘Are they looking forward when they do their run? Are their arms moving in the right way? Or ‘are they looking when we’re throwing a ball at them?’,” Edwards says.
Once the video data has been collected, Edwards says he will be addressing any gaps in the school’s Huff and Puff program, as well as recruiting the help of classroom teachers.
“So [if] they know that the kids need to be practising their catching skills, they can divise an activity whereby the kids are practising their catching skills, but also revising their counting,” he explains.
“So a bigger aspect of this project is to then try and get more collaboration between the classroom teachers and the PE faculty.”
As a classroom teacher himself, Edwards says there’s huge potential for incorporating fundamental motor skills into academic lessons, and sometimes it’s just a matter of showing colleagues the way.
Edwards also has plans to get older students involved with the project perhaps working through the data and helping to draw conclusions.
And for the younger students, he says it’s been a great coaching tool.
“[We can] show them ‘oh can you see here how you’re shutting your eyes while I throw the ball at you? That’s why you’re not putting your hands in the right spot.’
“It’s a nice tool to use with them and they certainly seem to respond quite well to it as well.”
By the end of the year, Edwards hopes to have 3 sets of videos depicting each skill, so students compare and see the progress they’ve made.