Strand five - Exploration
Mana Aotūroa

Goal 2

Children experience an environment where they gain confidence in and control of their bodies.

Indicative Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes

Children develop:

  • increasing knowledge about how to keep physically healthy;
  • increasing control over their bodies, including development of locomotor skills, non-locomotor skills, manipulative skills and increasing agility, co-ordination, and balance;
  • strategies for actively exploring and making sense of the world by using their bodies, including active exploration with all the senses, and the use of tools, materials, and equipment to extend skills;
  • confidence with moving in space, moving to rhythm, and playing near and with others.

Questions for reflection


In what circumstances might children’s free movement and exploration need to be restrained, and how can this best be done within the principles of the curriculum?

What kinds of versatile plaything and equipment are used, and how can the range be expanded?

How is the range of play equipment selected and arranged to support physical development, and how well is it used to promote learning and growth?

In what ways, and to what extent, are children allowed and encouraged to do things for themselves?

What opportunities are there for children to combine physical activities with music, language, and problem solving? What are the outcomes of these opportunities, and are there more effective ways to provide such experiences?

What safety checks are in place, and to what extent are they well organised, complete, and effective?

Examples of experiences which help to meet these outcomes

For infants

Adults recognise that curiosity is a prime motivator for physical activity and allow infants to develop skills at their own pace.

Safe things are provided to assist infants to move, for example, something to hold on to, to balance against, or to pull themselves up on.

Playthings are provided that encourage pulling, pushing, fingering, mouthing, and grasping, that can be manipulated in a variety of ways, and that require minimal adult assistance.

Infants are handled in a confident, respectful, and gentle way.

For toddlers

Toddlers are encouraged to develop skills at their own rate and to know and understand their own abilities and limitations. Adults wait to let toddlers indicate that they need assistance rather than assuming that they will.

Toddlers have opportunities for active exploration with the support, but not the interference, of adults.

Toddlers have access to an increasing range of playthings that can enhance both gross and fine motor skills.

For young children

Young children experience activities that develop both gross and fine motor skills and that offer varying degrees of challenge, such as balancing, hammering, obstacle courses, construction activities, hopping, turning, and pouring.

The children’s range of physical skills is extended through access to such equipment as skipping ropes, balls, racquets, bats, and balance boards.

Children are given the challenge of co-ordinating several variables at once, for example, controlling both force and direction when kicking a ball.

Time is allowed for practising the skills of dressing and eating and for helping others to do so.

Books and stories about the body are available for children to look at.

Last updated: 9 April 2009