The European Parliament’s guidance defines a skill as the demonstrable ability to use knowledge and abilities which are personal, social and methodological, within different social situations and for personal development. Skills are described in terms of responsibility and independence.
• Initially, a child is able to do basic things, such as starting to crawl;
• He then acquires the capability to become faster at it and gains in strength;
• Eventually he acquires a competence or skill in crawling, whereby he can perform the manoeuvre in different ways, such as crawling up different types of terrain, uphill, downhill, and surmounting obstacles.
When a child has acquired skills, he is able to act independently, relative to his age, and resolve ever more complex situations. The main motor abilities, that through experience become skills, can be grouped into three key sets:
• Manual dexterity and touch. Manual dexterity is the ability to grab, throw, pull, push, grip, hold on, and climb. Touch is the ability to recognize objects by tactile means. These are motor skills that require mostly the use of the upper limbs: the arms and hands.
• Mobility. This is the ability to move around, crawl, walk, run and jump. The upper and lower limbs are used.
• Balance. This is the ability to keep the body in a certain position or to regain it after a change, for example following a push. Balance includes the ability to respond to and counteract the force of gravity, something that a baby begins to develop from the moment of birth; it also includes the ability to walk along a narrow pathway and to carry an object on the head. This ability requires development of the vestibular system and the involvement of both the trunk and limbs.