Motor Skills and Their Foundational Role for Perceptual, Social, and Cognitive Development
Motor skills are a vital part of healthy development and are featured prominently both in physical examinations and in parents’ baby diaries. It has been known for a long time that motor development is critical for children’s understanding of the physical and social world. Learning occurs through dynamic interactions and exchanges with the physical and the social world, and consequently movements of eyes and head, arms and legs, and the entire body are a critical during learning. At birth, we start with relatively poorly developed motor skills but soon gain eye and head control, learn to reach, grasp, sit, and eventually to crawl and walk on our own. The opportunities arising from each of these motor milestones are profound and open new and exciting possibilities for exploration and interactions, and learning. Consequently, several theoretical accounts of child development suggest that growth in cognitive, social, and perceptual domains are influences by infants’ own motor experiences. Recently, empirical studies have started to unravel the direct impact that motor skills may have other domains of development. This volume is part of this renewed interest and includes reviews of previous findings and recent empirical evidence for associations between the motor domain and other domains from leading researchers in the field of child development. We hope that these articles will stimulate further research on this interesting question.