A child’s cognitive development begins with the significant stage of sensorimotor development. This stage can be defined as the phase in which cognitive connections and growth take place in the brain as a result of the interaction between sensory and motor stimulation from the environment. Therefore, this system should be developed very promptly and extra efforts should be put to improve it. While sensory skills are responsible for receiving information from the environment through our inherent senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, motor skills allow the body to express the information received and processed. This vital collaboration is a fundamental tool that forms the basis for learning. Five basic sensory system is present in human body.
Motor systems are required to co-ordinate the sensory system and produce the action.
Motor skills involve the following muscle tone, strength, and coordination
- Rhythm and timing
- Bilateral coordination
- Gross and fine-motor skills
- Primitive and postural reflexes
- Eye-muscle balance and coordination
- Vestibular balance and posture
Sensory motor skills comprise of
Body in space – Knowing where our body is in space helps toS know where we are in relation to people and objects and leads to the development of visual motor skills. Visual motor skills are essential in the areas of learning to write, social interaction by knowing boundaries of proximity and even driving as we get older.
Laterality – Knowing how to cross midline of the body, knowing right from left and also eye movements comprise of laterality. The development of this skill is essential in learning how to read, write and also for our brain to work in a proficient song.
Balance– Development of balance is promoted through the use of our vestibular system present in our inner ear. A higher level of balance has been shown to stimulate the growth and enlargement of neural networks which in turn cause the communication systems to grow and develop.
Centering – Centering is the ability to cross the midline top to bottom. If centering is not developed, a student will walk completely disconnected, as though the legs are working independently of the rest of this body. This leads to poor coordination in sports; disorganization in his room and classroom desk; messy personal appearance; this child is overwhelmed.
Sensory motor skills forms the most important part of an infant during the first stage of their life. Studies say it helps identifying the relation between the body and environment , how to react according to the changes occurring around them. The Sensory motor skills help the children in creating a connection with the environment, Brain development, helps enhance hands on activities and develop child senses, develop cognitive skills, mind body relation, identifying and capturing live images that works in day to day life, problem solving skills, motor skills, learning fine motor and gross motor activities social interaction and communication.
This system is one of the most important factor in developmental milestone of a child and can be enhanced through various activities at home and in schools also. Parents and teachers play a pivotal role in the foundation of this system.
At school level mainly at daycare , various kinds of plays, games and classes can be arranged to encourage children to participate and improve the sensory motor skills.
Activities such as
- Merry-go-round- Develops co-ordination and balancing system.(3-5 Yrs)
- Dance classes- Develops proprioception, alertness, motor skills.(3-4 yrs)
- Music classes- Like musical wall with various musical instruements like small wooden mallets , toy phones making sound, etc. Develops vestibular, balance, reflexes.(3-5 yrs)
- Art classes- Improves motor neuron activity(2-5 yrs)
- Clay and pottery classes(2-4 yrs)
- Sports activity- Participation of children improves individual activity level.(3-4 yrs)
- Various competitions according to age group- Like find an object and reach. To improve co-ordination and socialisation.(3-4 yrs)
- Blocks and box- Matching and arranging the blocks of various colours.(3-4 yrs)
- Catch and hold activities- Like balls of different sizes .(3-5 yrs)
- Peek A boo activities-(1-3 yrs)
At home, parents should create a conducive atmosphere for the children so that they tend to learn each activity they do at home. Parents can practice the following acts at home like-
- Gardening- They can involve their children in planting flowers, gardening that improves motor activity.
- Home cleaning and sorting things.
- Playing instruments at home like piano.
- Swimming classes – Both parents and children can participate.
- Taking strolls in park.
- Playing indoor and outdoor games.
- Painting, colouring books.
- Making 3D models.
- Pebble sorting
- Chocolate and dough making.
- Climbing and hanging games organised at home with other children.
- Crafts making with various objects.
Various objects can be used at home for games and plays , but it should be kept in mind that the child does not put them into mouth if he /she is under 3 years of age.
Innovative ideas can be created for children at home which are fun and gives learning experience. The parents can spend some quality time with their children while doing such activities.