Perceptual Motor Programme (PMP)

 The PMP programme aims to develop children’s motor skills that are foundation skills for many activities in the classroom. Many children arrive at school with some of these skills not practiced due mainly to their sedentary lifestyle. The PMP programme aims to practice these skills in a fun, holistic and organized way.

“A Perceptual Motor Programme aims to teach a child perceptions and understandings of him/herself and his/her world through movement / motor experiences.” (Bullus & Coles Perceptual Motor Programmes – A Manual for Teachers).


  • is a holistic Movement / Language based development programme.
  • helps children with motor coordination, cognitive development, self-esteem, social skills and ability to cope better in the classroom.
  • helps teachers recognise children’s needs in relation to hand-eye, balance, locomotion and fitness.
  • helps to grow children’s short term auditory sequential memory (STASM).
  • gives children strategies for problem solving.
  • contains sequenced, fun activities.
  • is preventative rather than curative.
  • covers many strands of the junior PE / Health Curriculum.

What is a Perceptual Judgement?

In everything we do, we use our senses and experiences to make a perceptual judgment. These judgments are individual and based on what we personally experience. It is these perceptual judgments which dictate the way we react to our experiences.

When perceptions about my self, my body and my world are well developed, consequential reactions are more likely to be appropriate for each given situation. The greater the store of experiences the better developed are the perceptions and motor reactions. The more automatic reactions that are stored, the more able the brain is free to consider other things. This makes learning in the school situation much easier for children.

A Perceptual Motor Programme aims to give the child experiences by seeing, hearing, touching and making perceptual judgments and reacting through carefully sequenced activities which children enjoy doing. These include running, hopping, skipping, jumping, balancing, crawling, climbing, throwing, catching, bowling, spinning sliding etc, using a variety of common and specially designed equipment.

The perceptions a child should gain can be grouped as:

  • Perception of self (body image, laterality) if problems of reversals, sidedness etc are to be avoided in the classroom.
  • A perception of space, if problems with handwriting and poor use of time are to be avoided.
  • A perception of time (body rhythm) if the child is to be able to remember things rhythmically and move efficiently in his/her world.

The child needs the motor skills of balance, locomotion, fitness and eye hand coordination to function effectively. Children with common problems of inattention, day dreaming, wandering, laziness, clumsiness, disruptive behaviour etc are often children who have a poorly developed “perceptual world”. These are the children who become frustrated with school and optimal learning is not achieved.

A true Perceptual Motor Programme aims to be preventative rather than curative by diagnosing these problems and working in a variety of ways to overcome them so that the child experiences success in the learning process. It also develops good social skills and self esteem.

A good Perceptual Motor Programme has children working through a sequence of experiences to develop perception and motor outcomes along with memory training. Confidence grows, problems are solved, language skills develop and the fundamental sports skills are learned which will enable the child to move competently into major games and sports activities. Children become self-assured people, willing to take risks in their learning, knowing their place in the world and aware of the contributions they can make in the world.

*The programme is divided into three parts. A well run PMP programme requires all three parts to be completed.
How does PMP work? Floor Session:-Preparation for equipment sessions.

– Achievement in the equipment session depends on good preparation.

-Outcomes from PMP Model

– Use starter and extension cards from Smart Start Model

Language Follow Up Session:

-Transferring the concepts, knowledge and understanding to the classroom situation ie;

How often? – 1 for every 2-3 sessions

– Up to 4 sessions a week

– After each equipment session

When? – Any time of the day

– Any time of the day

– Immediately after equipment session

Who? – Whole class

– 4-5 children per station

– Whole class

How long? – 1/2 hour session

– 1/2 hour – 5 minutes per station

– 5-10 minutes

Where? – Any safe place

– A large safe area eg. hall

– Classroom – At PMP equipment times

Help required? – Not essential

– 1 adult per station

– If possible, but not essential

*Part1 – bold, part2 – italic, part3 – bold.


  • PMP develops perceptions and understandings of the child’s world through practice and doing.
  • Helps establish “automaticity” of motor tasks.
  • Assists the brain to “integrate” based on early childhood motor milestones.
  • Helps bridge the gap between early childhood education and formal learning.

Above all, we realise that many children enter our classrooms unready for formal learning, unable to hold a pencil correctly and cannot sit still long enough to cope with instructions and the many challenges formal schooling bring. Consequently, children can be turned off learning, develop a low self esteem and hate for school.A well run PMP programme will help address these problems.