The Physical Development Needs of Young Children  book cover
1st Edition

The Physical Development Needs of Young Children

Edited By

Rebecca Duncombe

ISBN 9781138601949
Published June 3, 2019 by Routledge
250 Pages 53 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

With growing concerns over declining levels of school readiness and physical activity, this book highlights the importance of quality early movement experiences and explores the connection between poor early Physical Development opportunities and later difficulties in the classroom. 

The book outlines the Physical Development needs of babies, toddlers and young children up to the age of eight, and suggests practical ways in which these can be provided for. It explores key concepts and terms, such as physical literacy, fundamental movement skills, sport, physical activity and Physical Education (PE), in relation to young children’s Physical Development needs and discusses age-appropriate provision. Advice is given to prevent movement difficulties from occurring, but it is acknowledged that not all children follow a typical Physical Development pathway, and, where this is the case, suggestions are provided to help put children "back on course." 

The Physical Development Needs of Young Children is important reading for all who work with or care for young children, including Early Years practitioners, primary school teachers, students who are studying to join these professions, and parents.

Table of Contents


  1. The Origins and Evolution of Physical Education (PE) and Physical Development (PD) in Early Childhood 0-8 years
  2. Rebecca Duncombe and Lala Manners

  3. Physical Literacy in Early Childhood
  4. Susan Allingham, Patricia Maude and Margaret Whitehead

  5. The Complex Nature of Early Childhood Movement Skills Development
  6. Mike Jess

  7. Physical Activity in the Early Years
  8. Julie Stirrup and Rachel Sandford

  9. Finland: An International Approach to Physical Development
  10. Arja Sääkslahti and Rebecca Duncombe

  11. Natural Physical Development in the First Year: The Pikler Approach
  12. Dorothy Marlen

  13. Practical Approaches for Meeting the Physical Development Needs of Babies and Toddlers
  14. Sue Gascoyne

  15. Physical Development in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
  16. Rebecca Duncombe

  17. Physical Development and Physical Education for 5-7 Year olds
  18. Vicky Randall and Gerald Griggs

  19. Unlocking Physical Potential: Putting Right What has ‘Gone Wrong’
  20. Rebecca Duncombe and Sally Goddard Blythe

  21. Adapting Sports for Young Children
  22. Carolynne Mason

  23. Adapting the Environment for the Early Years
  24. Carol Archer

  25. Physical Development Through Outdoor Play: The Example of Forest School
  26. Janine Coates

  27. Enhancing Physical Development Through Play
  28. Pat Preedy

  29. Physical Development Programmes and Approaches: Content and Impact

Rebecca Duncombe, Pat Preedy, Cathy Parvin, Kim Pott and Ruth Smith


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Rebecca Duncombe is a Neuro-developmental Therapist helping individuals

and schools. Her recent research has focussed on Physical Development in the

Early Years, and she jointly developed “Movement for Learning,” a daily programme

of developmental exercises aimed at children in reception and Year 1.