We used the ABC movement test battery which had been standardised in 2007. This enabled us to see whether children’s physical capabilities were declining, as well as giving a robust measure of
children’s physical development at the start and end of the Reception Year.
We also tested for retained primitive reflexes - Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex, Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex and the
Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex using the INPP Developmental Test Battery for children aged 4 to 6 years.
Analysis of the baseline data indicates that, at the start of the Reception Year, over half of the children in both the state and independent school had significant movement difficulties that would impact their learning. These tests were repeated towards the end of the academic year
(June 2016) and data analysed to establish whether there are any differences between those children participating in the Movement for Learning Programme and those in the comparison group.
Those children who participated in the programme improved their physical development scores by 18 percentile points whilst the comparison group MADE NO PROGRESS AT ALL. The children on the programme also reduced their scores for primitive reflexes whilst the scores of the comparison children actually increased.
Initial feedback from the teachers delivering the programme has been positive with
improvements in fine and gross motor skills as well as in behaviour and concentration being noted.
This research is currently ongoing, but we know from the first year that, compared to the comparison class, the children who participated in Movement for Learning made improvements in the following areas:
• Manual Dexterity
• Aiming and catching
• Overall physical development
In addition, teachers reported that these children seemed more ready to learn, better able to sit still and concentrate, and had improved pencil grips (when compared to previous cohorts and the comparison classes).