Physical Development Policy


This policy is a statement of the aims, principals and strategies for learning and teaching within the area of Physical Development.

The policy was developed by the subject co-ordinator, in conjunction with the Head-teacher, staff-team and a member of the Governing body with curricular responsibility, during the Summer Term 2016.


What is Physical Development in the Foundation Stage?

The EYFS 2012 states that

“Physical development involves providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive, and to develop their co-ordination, control and movement.

Children must also be helped to understand the importance of physical activity, and to make healthy choices in relation to food.”

In the Revised EYFS 2012 Physical Development has become a  “Prime Area” in recognition of the need to promote an awareness of the fundamental importance of developing a healthy lifestyle and an understanding of making healthy lifestyle choices from an early age.

“Prime areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive”         EYFS 2012

This Prime Area of learning and development is broken down into 2 aspects;

  1. Moving and Handling

Being aware of children being energetic but also needing time for relaxation. Giving  as much opportunity as possible for the children to move freely between indoors and outdoors. Provide play equipment that can be used in different ways such as boxes, barrels, A-frames etc. Challenging children to find ways of moving around. Developing an understanding of how to keep themselves and others safe. Supporting children with additional needs to access equipment and develop their full physical potential. Practice manipulative skills in a variety of ways eg cooking, painting, modelling with clay etc.

  1. Health and Self-Care

Supporting children to become independent in self-care eg showing children how to fasten a zip but let them pull it up and down. Encourage children to participate in activities which will raise their heart-beat and to be aware of these changes in their bodies. Develop the link between physical activity and maintaining good health for life. Be sensitive to varying family expectations and life patterns when thinking about health.


The above statements are taken from “Development Matters” Physical Development

( MH/HSC) 22-36m, 30-50m, 40-60m and ELG. See Appendix 1

The Revised EYFS 2012 states;

“Children are born ready, able and eager to learn. They actively reach out to interact with other people, and in the world around them. Development is not an automatic process, however. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact in positive relationships and enabling environments”.

To this end, At Hadfield Nursery School, we recognise;

Each child is Unique

Every child is a unique child who is constantly learning and can be resilient, capable, confident and self-assured”.   EYFS 2012

  • We value each child as an individual, accepting their individual needs and rates of development
  • We recognise each child as a competent learner
  • We accept and recognise each child’s ability, disability, gender, race, and cultural background, so enabling them to enjoy equality of opportunity and support to reach their full potential.
  • We aim to support children in recognising that their views count and that their opinion is valued eg in following children’s interests and ideas for topics in this area.

The Importance of Positive Relationships

“Children learn to be strong and independent through positive relationships.” EYFS 2012

  • We aim to guide and support our children’s developing physical skills and understanding of how their body functions by careful observation, assessment and then planning.
  • We aim to motivate our children to enjoy an active lifestyle by giving them opportunities, space and time to develop their gross and fine motor skills.
  • We aim to encourage our children to take manageable risks in their play, to challenge themselves and increase their self-confidence, whilst ensuring their safety.
  • We aim to support our children and their families’ understanding of how exercise, healthy eating, sleeping and personal hygiene practices promote good health and well-being.
  • We aim to support children to work together and begin to take account of ideas and preferences which differ from their own.


The provision of an Enabling Environment


“Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and carers.” EYFS 2012

  • We aim to provide challenging, flexible, motivating resources and opportunities which support and develop the skills, independence, creativity and imagination of each child.
  • We aim to create an environment where it is “safe” to make mistakes, to share thoughts and ideas, explore different options, and work collaboratively.
  • We aim to provide a place where children are able to persevere, concentrate and pursue their own interests.
  • We aim to provide resources which are accessible and organised in ways which encourage independence and responsibility ( Continuous Provision).
  • We plan daily opportunities for energetic play, activities to develop fine-motor skills, and opportunities for children to explore and practice self-care and health lifestyle.
  • We provide time and enhanced provision for children with additional physical needs or motor impairments to develop their physical skills and reach their fullest potential. The school works closely with Support Specialists such as occupational/physiotherapists, teachers of visually/hearing impaired children, and others to ensure that additional physical needs are resourced appropriately.
  • We will make use of materials and resources in DCC ‘s ECAM ( Every Child a Mover) pack to identify and support children at risk of Developmental Delay in this area (which has been shown to have a significant impact on children’s learning and development in other areas).


Learning and Teaching within Physical Development


“Young children’s physical development is inseparable from all other aspects of development because they learn through being active.”  Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage, QCA.

At Hadfield Nursery School the children are;

  • given time, space and opportunity to explore, experiment and repeat movements and actions in order to develop their co-ordination, agility, strength, confidence and self-esteem.
  • provided with an environment which is exciting, challenging, well-resourced and safe.
  • encouraged to access physical activity within all areas of learning eg counting hops and jumps in mathematics, “fishing” for letter sounds in developing phonic skills,  dance in expressive development.
  • encouraged to take risks and learn from their mistakes as well as their successes.
  • supported in child-initiated/ independent activities eg  staff may support children in finding resources which will enable them to explore rolling down a grassy bank.
  • encouraged and supported to become independent in self-care eg fastening own coats, washing hands, having snack.
  • valued and rewarded for their efforts, thereby promoting self-esteem and a desire to keep trying.
  • acknowledged to develop at different rates, in their own ways, in their preferred style.


At Hadfield Nursery School Practioners;

  • recognise and are committed to the value of physical activity and the importance of promoting healthy lifestyles. We aim to share these beliefs and promote understanding with parents and carers as well as with the children eg through involving them with gardening projects, asking for their support with group walks and trips ( including “Bankswood Badgers”), Healthy Living and other Family Fun-Days.
  • plan to ensure that the children have access to daily opportunities for daily physical activities both indoors and outdoors and in all weathers.
  • zone the outdoor play area to enable specific skills to be taught safely.
  • plan and support child-initiated activities which develop fine and gross-motor skills, and those which promote health and self-care.  (See Appendix 2)
  • Observe and listen to children to better understand their interests and provide opportunities/resources for child-intitiated learning.
  • act as role-models in demonstrating the safe use and manipulation of resources as well as allowing children time for exploration and experimentation eg using scissors.
  • support children’s understanding of their movements and actions by “narrating” their play so that they can begin to understand the vocabulary of movement alongside their actions.
  • counter any stereotypical behaviours eg encouraging and including all children regardless of gender or ability to participate in playing football, digging, construction, home-play etc.
  • provide appropriate support/resources for children with additional mobility or learning needs, eg ECAM
  • provide appropriate levels of support to children when they are getting dressed to go outdoors, using dress-up clothing or in using the toilet or bathroom, which will encourage them to develop independence in their self-care skills, eg encouraging a child to pull up their zip once fastened, take-off their own clothing if they are being changed.

Planning for Physical Development

Planning at Hadfield Nursery School is devised in line with the EYFS Statutory Framework and Guidance (“Development Matters” 2012)  and from observation and assessment of children’s needs. It includes;

  • The Nursery’s 2-year rolling programme of 12 termly topics. Topics titled “Holidays” and “My Body” have a Physical Curriculum emphasis.
  • Continuous Provision for Outdoor Play and Fine- Motor development ( See Appendix 3)
  • Elements within PSED planning which have a direct link with Health and Self-Care eg “hand-washing”, “I can make choices for myself” and “Keeping Safe”  (See Medium term planning for PSED)
  • Elements from ECAM which promote good practice are included in MTP and STP ( see key-worker planning sheets which include elements such as “tummy-time” and “finger-gym”.
  • Medium Term Planning for Physical Development – linked to each terms topic to ensure coverage of steps toward Early Learning Goals (ELG’s) See Appendix 3
  • Short-Term “Focussed” planning – weekly. To ensure that basic skills are taught. Staff work to a “Target-List” for both gross-motor development (Moving & Handling) and development of Health & Self-Care skills. Children of average ability and those requiring challenge or support are clearly identified. Staff can easily differentiate the activity to offer challenge or smaller steps as necessary. Staff record any significant progress or difficulty on this sheet so information can be shared between the whole staff team. Children also access specific gross/fine-motor skills development as part of the 2-week rolling programme for a group-time Physical activity. Within this session Key-workers observe, target and support “target” children. See Weekly Planning.
  • Specialist Physical Coaching sessions by “Peak Active Sports” (P.A.S) are offered to key-worker groups on a regular basis ( sessions are timetabled to ensure equity between groups). The coach will also continue to work with children during the “free-flow” session and staff can identify children who may benefit from direct support.

Planning for Physical development takes account of;

  • Individual stages of development within development bands (EYFS 2012) with an understanding that children develop at different rates and in different ways.
  • Observations made of the children.
  • Individual Learning Plans (I.E.P’s) for children with additional needs.
  • Preferred learning styles (VAK)
  • Monitoring and Evaluation.

Observation, Assessment, Monitoring and Record-Keeping

Children’s skills and stages of development are observed and monitored by key-workers and the whole teaching team. Observations may be long or short and supported by evidence such as annotated photographs  using  iPad with 2Build-a-Profile software, or pieces of work when possible.These observations also include Levels of Well-being and Involvement

( Laevers)

Records of individual children’s progress and achievement are kept electronically as part of each child’s “Markbook” on Classroom Monitor. These observations and records inform planning, identify specific targets for each child, may identify a learning difficulty or talent, and provide the school with the means to monitor cohort progress and collect data on the effectiveness of the provision.

Data collected each half-term will identify children requiring additional support of challenging in the two strands of this specific area of learning ( see MediumTerm Planning)

Children’s progress in Physical Development is shared with parents/carers during the child’s Curriculum Consultation at the mid-point of their time at Nursery. This enables two-way sharing of information and the planning of “next steps”.

Supporting  All our Children’s Needs

  • Provision will be made to meet the individual requirements of children with any additional needs, to enable them to make progress in their Physical Development and achieve their full potential, eg through specific targets as part of an Individual Support Plan.
  • Staff will liaise and work closely with other professionals involved with the child and respond to the advice they offer.
  • Where necessary, resources and equipment to support children with additional needs will be procured from other agencies.
  • We will make use of materials and resources in DCC ‘s ECAM ( Every Child a Mover) pack to identify and support children at risk of Developmental Delay in this area (which has been shown to have a significant impact on children’s learning and development in other areas).

Equal Opportunities

At Hadfield Nursery School we aim to offer children and their families a safe environment, free from harassment and discrimination, in which children’s contributions are valued and where racial and religious beliefs are respected.

We aim to challenge discrimination on the grounds of gender or disability.

All children will be treated as individuals and they will have full access to all elements of the Physical Development provision and opportunities, regardless of gender, ability/disability, race or cultural background.

Health & Safety – Managing Risk

At Hadfield Nursery School we believe that risk-taking is an integral part of promoting physical competence.

“It is counter-productive to focus on keeping children away from every risk, however slight. We are likely to create a boring environment for them, without challenge or excitement. We also project an image of ourselves as people who block children’s interests and curiosity”

Jennie Lindon, “Too Safe for Their Own Good” 2011

  • The Health and Safety of the children is paramount. Staff check resources and areas on a daily basis and remove or report anything which may present a danger or health-risk. Children are encouraged to consider their own and others safety both indoors and outdoors eg using “walking feet” indoors.
  • The outdoor play area is “zoned” to ensure that activities can be undertaken safely and uninterrupted.
  • Within the Health and Self-care aspect, children are taught the importance of personal hygiene eg hand-washing, disposing of used paper tissues etc.
  • Children’s dietary needs and medical conditions such as allergies are considered in the planning and provision of activities and snacks.

The Role of the Subject- Co-ordinator

The Subject Co-ordinator is responsible for

  • the writing and reviewing of the Policy for Physical Development
  • the development and auditing of this area of learning
  • ensuring that all children receive their entitlement to all the elements of this area of learning
  • monitoring and evaluating the quality of teaching and learning in this area and the children’s progress towards ELG’s
  • monitoring, maintaining and ordering resources
  • supporting colleagues in their understanding and delivery of this area of learning
  • identifying and attending relevant courses to promote continued professional development (CPD) and to feed-back to the Head-teacher and staff.
  • ensure equality of opportunity and access to all aspects of Physical Development
  • liaise with the Governor with curriculum responsibility for Physical Development in order to support their monitoring.



  1. EYFS Development Matters – Physical Development 2012
  2. DCC – “Every Child a Mover” resource pack.
    Continuous Provision for the Development of Fine Motor skills/ Mark-Making
  4. Sample of Medium Term Planning for Physical Development


Linked Documentation

This policy should be read in conjunction with the following policies:

  • Policy for Equalities, Differences and Cohesion
  • Policy for Teaching and Learning
  • Assessment and Recording Policy
  • Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) Policy (incorporating Modern British Values)
  • Policy for PSED
  • Policy for Health and Safety
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