Children between the ages of 8-12 are defined as being within the developmental stage of middle childhood. At this age, the rapid development of previous stages has decreased and the physical changes within this period are slower and more defined. The refinement of gross and fine motor skills is a critical aspect of this stage as the delayed or retarded development can have significant impact on the areas of cognitive, social and emotional development. In order to ensure children are equipped with the correct knowledge and understanding of health, well being and healthy eating, the period of middle childhood is one in which these aspects are incorporated and failure to properly do so can result in long term ramifications and problems.
Middle Childhood is a distinct period of development where a child develops physically, cognitively and social-emotionally. Between the school years of 3 and 7, children begin to gain an understanding of themselves in comparison to others, learn large amounts of information, manage their behaviour and also develop self-concepts and self-esteem. (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2010.)
Gross motor skills in middle childhood have become a smooth movement and are no longer awkward as in previous stages. For most children there is an emerging interest in performing physical activities using the increased competence and skill that have been developed. As children gain muscle coordination movements such as running, skipping, jumping, throwing and catching become proficient and are able to be performed correctly.
Through the performance of physical activity in children there is a continued positive effect on the motor development and further refinement of actions. During this developmental stage, it is critical that children correctly develop motor skills. If competence is not reached, there will be ongoing repercussions (Asian Journal of Sport Medicine, 2011). A study conducted in Iran based on this found an increase in motor efficiency and overall motor development when selected exercises were performed by the group. J.P. Piek, L. Dawson, L.M. Smith and N. Gasson (2008) found that children with poor motor proficiency are less likely to have active lifestyles and tend to prefer more sedentary activities (as cited in Asian Journal of Sport Medicine, 2011).
As gross motor skills develop, fine motor skills such as writing, drawing, typing, cutting and small manipulations of objects and toys begin to be more refined. Drawings and writings of children in this stage is more advanced and detailed as it is supported by the physiological maturation and cognitive advances that are characteristic of middle childhood development (McDevitt & Ormrod, 2010).
The cognitive advances of this stage forms part of Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development. This stage theory is compiled of 4 specific stages that relate to the cognitive development of children. Middle Childhood build up to the third stage that is known as...