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Leap in coordination

A PILOT movement and exercise programme in nursery schools has helped produce children that are better able to stand, run and catch according to Primary 1 teachers in Fife.

Timing and appreciation of musical sounds are also improved and early results appear to show that improved motor skills can lead to improved academic performance.

Dave Maiden, primary physical education adviser, said the Fife to Five initiative over the past year was designed to get children moving by combining play and exercise from an early age. It is based on a New Zealand scheme, Kiwibaby.

Mr Maiden said it was linked to early intervention strategies. "We believe healthy and developed physical bodies will lead to a more educative experience. Our programme from 0-5 is about daily exercise routines, positive attitudes, safe play and reintroducing games and rhymes," he explained.

Pupils play different interactive games to get them moving while teachers introduce the basics of counting, communication and recognition of colours. Mr Maiden said the scheme tried to encourage parents to be their child's first teacher and to be active with them.

A booklet has been issued to all nurseries and primaries, spelling out how the scheme works. The next stage, with health board backing, is likely to be a similar booklet for parents of babies.

David Henderson

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