Movement Competencies

Movement competencies are essential to participation in physical activity. If movement competencies are not developed and nurtured from a young age, this can lead to inactivity and the health and social problems linked to inactivity. The following graphic provides examples of how movement competencies set a foundation for participation in different physical activities.

 We divide movement competencies into more specific skills including: sending, receiving, transporting, and body control.

  • Sending includes how a child moves or sends an object away from them. This can include throwing, kicking, head butting, or other creative methods. For example, if the goal of a game is to hit a target (e.g. a plastic cone/pylon), the child has a number of different options. For example, s/he could throw underhand or overhand (sending upper body) or kick (sending lower body) the ball, aiming for the target.
  • Receiving skills include how a child catches or receives an object. This can include catching, using a foot to stop a ball, trapping an object with their body, or other creative methods.
  • Transporting skills include different ways to move around the environment such as walking, running, hopping, skipping and jumping (upright transporting), but also rolling and tumbling (vertical or prone transporting).
  • Body control skills involve balance and skills that require us to move one part of our body while keeping the others still. It can include body control skills while stationary (e.g. standing while putting on shoes or reaching up to get an object from a high shelf) or while moving (e.g. walking while balancing on the curb of a sidewalk)
  • Coordinated movements are how a child combines the different types of movement skills together in everyday activities and play. This can include catching a ball while running or navigating an outdoor playground. 

Assessing movement competencies

Pre PLAy uses two types of questions to assess movement competencies.

The first set of items asks you to select the stage you believe the child is at. This section includes a rubric that is to be used to identify what box/stage the child fits into. The questions and rubric provide some examples of activities to help you consider and understand a wide range of activities. These can be used to think about other types of activities that you might observe depending on the age of the child. For example, receiving with equipment includes with a glove or stick as examples. Younger children might not yet use gloves, so you would need to consider other activities for this question. For example, younger children might use a hoop to receive a bean bag or creatively use other objects in the class to receive/trap objects.  

Once you identify the box/stage that best matches the child’s skill, we ask you to place a vertical line within that box as to the level or skill of the child. The skill level increases as the box moves from left to right. The example below illustrates an example of this type of question and how to answer it.  


Compared to other children the same age, how would you rate this child on each of the following skills:  

Sending upper body (using body only/no equipment; e.g. arms/hands/head/chest): 

The second type of questions asks about different activities or movements common in the preschool setting. These questions ask how often a child engages in an activity from never to always. For these questions, we ask you to select the box that most applies.According to the position of the blue line above, the educator believes the child is able to demonstrate sending skills without support or instruction. Further, the educator believes the child is very capable at using these skills without assistance. If the line were placed closer to the left hand side of the box, then the person scoring is indicating she does not feel the child is quite as capable at displaying skills without instruction, relative to other children the same age.


Compared to children the same age, how would you rate the child on the following?

Can move inside the classroom without bumping into objects or people who are NOT moving.

Instructions for Scoring Pre PLAy

Scoring Sheets