Mechanisms of Motor Development

The mechanisms involved in motor development involve some genetic components that determine the physical size of body parts at a given age, as well as aspects of muscle and bone strength. The main areas of the brain involved in motor skills are the frontal cortex, parietal cortex and basal ganglia. The dorsolateral frontal cortex is responsible for strategic processing. The parietal cortex is important in controlling perceptual-motor integration and the basal ganglia and supplementary motor cortex are responsible for motor sequences.

Nutrition and exercise also determine strength and therefore the ease and accuracy with which a body part can be moved. Flexibility is also impacted by nutrition and exercise as well. It has also been shown that the frontal lobe develops posterio-anteriorally (from back to front). This is significant in motor development because the hind portion of the frontal lobe is known to control motor functions.

This form of development is known as “Portional Development” and explains why motor functions develop relatively quickly during normal childhood development, while logic, which is controlled by the middle and front portions of the frontal lobe, usually will not develop until late childhood and early adolescence. Opportunities to carry out movements help establish the abilities to flex (move toward the trunk) and extend body parts, both capacities are necessary for good motor ability.

Skilled voluntary movements such as passing objects from hand to hand develop as a result of practice and learning. Mastery Climate is a suggested successful learning environment for children to promote motor skills by their own motivation. This promotes participation and active learning in children, which according to Piaget’s developmental theory is extremely important in early childhood rule.