Teachers’ Understanding and Implementation of the National Curriculum for Physical Development in the Reception Year

  • HM Perry
  • K Mohangi
  • R Ferreira
  • M Moletsane
Keywords: National Curriculum, Early childhood, Harrow’s taxonomy, Physical development, Physical Education


This study explored Grade R teachers‟ understanding and implementation of early childhood physical development practices, based on the Revised National Curriculum Statement (RNCS). A case study, which entailed a focus group discussion, non-participant observations and document analysis of Grade R was conducted at a pre-primary school. Taxonomic and thematic analyses revealed that participants understood early physical development as a precursor to academic functioning. Teaching practices offered varying opportunities to learn within a whole-school approach to Physical Education (PE). Participants perceived various shortcomings in terms of non-specificity, participative versus quality performance approach, lack of age appropriate norms, irregularities with certain aspects of the Grade R curriculum and insufficient guidance for teachers. Participants reported limited reliance on the RNCS to inform their implementation of physical development practices. Further research is recommended, focusing on engaging critically with the physical development section of the RNCS for Grade R and comparing teaching practices in varying contexts. Additionally, there is a need for teacher training in early childhood PE, as well as assistance and dissemination of information.

Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 0379-9069