Crossing the midline - A fundamental physical skill

"How are your students getting on with crossing the midline?" asked the schools O.T (Occupational Therapist) as we crossed paths in the school hallway. I looked blankly at her in an awkward fashion. Feeling embarrassed, I said "What do you mean? Their progress at jumping over the middle line in the gymnasium?". Her reaction was priceless!

3 years on and I am so grateful for bumping into the conversation. I used this opportunity to go away to investigate and explore what she really meant. It has made me into a greater physical educator with a more expansive understanding of young children's movement requirements.

What is 'Crossing the midline'?

Imagine a line running from the top of your head to the middle point between your 2 legs as low as your toes - this is the midline.

Crossing the midline refers to a persons ability to reach their arms or legs across the middle of the body over to the opposite side. Crossing the midline is an important developmental skill.

How can I spot difficulties?

Learners may show the following if they are having difficulties with crossing the midline: - Swap hands midway through drawing, painting, colouring or writing across a page. - Use the right hand for activities on the right side of the body and left hand for activities on the left hand side. - Avoid crossing the body mid-line. - Find visual tasks such as following text when reading or catching from one side of the body to the other challenging.

- Display poor pencil and handwriting skills. - Have difficulties whilst changing, putting on socks and tying shoelaces. - Show difficulty coordinating gross motor patterns (e.g. crawling, rolling, side stepping, jumping jacks).

What are the benefits of developing midline crossing?

Developing midline crossing skills can lead to improvements in: - Balance skills. - Coordination of hands, arms, legs and feet. - Gross motor skills such as running, jumping, hopping and moving in different directions. - Fine motor skills. - Visual activities such as reading. - Writing, drawing, colouring and painting. - Daily tasks such as dressing and tying shoes.

How can midline crossing skills be developed?

The PE Shed has created a midline crossing resource pack which has been specifically designed to develop midline crossing skills in PE lessons. The resource pack contains 10 topics with multiple activities that will challenge and develop children's midline crossing.

The resource pack can be downloaded at www.thepeshed.com/shop

Below are 2 examples out of the 10 topics from the Crossing the midline resource pack:

The 'Crossing the midline' resource pack also includes the following topics: ladder activities, basketball activities, boxing activities, reaction activities, rolling activities, scooter activities, 'Simon Says' activities and individual exercises.

Purchase the 'Crossing the midline' Physical Education resource pack @ www.thepeshed.com/shop

We'd love to hear about any other activities you use to develop midline crossing skills.

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