Importance of Motor Skill in Children Posted on March 9, 2018

By Rameshon

Importance of Motor Skill in Children
Motor Skills – What parents need to know before their child become a champion one day or grow up holistically.


Picture 1 – Better motor skill enables a child to be a well coordinated person

I met Gregory Tan in Loughbrough University of Technology for our degree course. We became good friends and also realised that both us were from the same secondary school, St Josephs’ Institution and have the same alma mater ‘Ora et Labora’ which means work and pray. In England, at times, we used to play soccer together whenever we were free and have nothing to do.

In 1997, as a coach and Head of Department, Gregory Tan was able to make Greenview Secondary, an unknown school in Soccer, to come in as a champion for the National Inter-Schools’ Soccer Championships. He was the Head of Department of Greenview Secondary School from 1996 to 2000. The next four years of his career, Gregory was in Co-Curricular Curricular Activity Branch as a Specialist (Tennis). Subsequently in 2005, he did his Masters in Education (UWA) in Human Movement. Between 2006 and 2009, he was in Fernvale Primary School as the Head of Department of PE. He was one of the organising committee of the YOG doing the function of Assistant Committee Manager. Later he joined the Ministry of Education as a Specialist.

I believe that this interview by me on children will help many parents on making wise decision for the children.

1) Which secondary school and college were you from in your younger days?

My alma mater is St Joseph’s Institution and I was from Catholic Junior College.


Picture 2 – St Joseph’s Institution Badge

2) Where did you get your degree and masters from?

I graduated and did my Post Graduate Diploma in Education in Loughborough University, England. Pursued Masters in Education (with emphasis in Human Movement) in University of Western Australia.

3) What is your speciality?

I am fascinated by the development and learning of motor skills.


Picture 3 – Children’s motor pattern starts to develop at a very young age

4) Why do you think that motor skill is vitally important to the primary students? What are the disadvantages of a child not having proper motor skill when they are young?

The learning of motor skills is similar to the learning of languages. It is easier to learn a new skill / language when one is younger. Children are generally more curious, eager and enthusiastic. If we miss this crucial period of learning, we miss a chance to develop the fundamental movement skills of a child. Without the proper development of such skills, children will tend to shy away from participation in any form of physical activity, especially sports and games in future.

5) Can you name some of the important motor skills that can be developed in a child?

We need not go so far as to spell out complex motor skills like a somersault or an back flip; but the key motor skills for a child to learn are the fundamental movement skills like running, throwing, catching, kicking, dodging, jumping etc. Of course, within each skill mentioned they can be further divided into more specific skills e..g. for throwing, there can be overhead throw, underarm throw etc.

6) Between which age group does this motor skill start to form?

Skill mastery will vary according to individual differences, the quality and quantity of instruction and practice. In short, nature as well as proper nurturing will contribute to the competency of a child’s motor skill. As a guide for kids age 5 onwards, parents should have some knowledge of how to structure a development programme for their children.


Picture 4 – Self-esteem is very important as it involves self-worth

7) Is there any consequence that they may have to go through? Does motor skill affect self-esteem?

Children develop self-esteem and social skills when they play with others in the playground. They will lose out on this great opportunity to grow holistically if they lack the necessary movement skills to enjoy or join in a game.

8) Can you elaborate whether motor skill affects whether you want to be a champion?

Surely. Without a good grounding of the fundamental motor skills, an athlete will find it harder to master complex movements which will be a requirement if he or she wants to be a champion. For example, if a tennis player doesn’t possess a good throwing technique, he will find it hard to master the serve as the throwing action is the core of the service motion.


Picture 5 – Everything starts from proper Motor Skill learning from young

9) What is your advice on improving or developing motor skills in children?

It will have to be a national effort to ensure that our children and future generations develop proper fundamental motor skills. There is a need to address the competence of our coaches and PE teachers especially at primary school level so that we can ensure quality instruction is provided during lessons.

10) How many days per week is needed to optimally develop motor skills in children?

On average, fundamental movement skills in children need at least 14-16 months of structured teaching spread over 4-5 years of their primary school years to nurture and develop. But as mentioned, it is subjected to individual differences and the quality of instruction too.

Edited By Tan Mariviv