Developing Brains - How Do Fine Motor Skills Predict School Success?

Recently, we have been placing a lot of emphasis on the executive function when it comes to predicting school success. However, while we were browsing through some recent articles, we came across one titled: Fine Motor Skills and Executive Function Both Contribute to Kindergarten Achievement.

 

We all know that it is important to develop fine motor skills, but how exactly do they contribute to school success? Not only that but the article went so far as to claim that fine motor skills are as important as executive functioning skills in predicting school success.

 

In particular, they narrowed down to these three specific skills:

 

1. Building towers using blocks: I’m sure most people know what this is.

 

2. Copying shapes task: This task requires parents to prepare a sheet of paper with several drawn shapes. The child’s job is to copy the shapes as accurately as they can onto another sheet of paper.

 

3. Drawing people task: This task requires children to draw a person with as much detail as they want.

 

The researchers found that the copying shapes task was the best predictor of kindergarten achievement. In fact, 9 in 10 children who did well on this task performed better in school. But how? They speculate that it requires children to practice visual and cognitive processes like hand-eye-coordination and spatial organization; skills necessary in tasks like writing. But behind it all, they must incorporate executive function skills like working memory in order to remember the shape and copy it down. So it seems like many things do link back to executive function. However, having a strong foundation for fine motor skills is definitely a critical skill in school success.

 

Sources:

Fine Motor Skills and Executive Function Both Contribute to Kindergarten Achievement

Author(s): Claire E. Cameron, Laura L. Brock, William M. Murrah, Lindsay H. Bell, Samantha L. Worzalla, David Grissmer and Frederick J. Morrison