Growth and Development
Pre-school director and child development writer Bev Boss in Before the Basics writes:
"Children were not born to walk. There were born to run -- barefoot, over rocks, through the water, through the mud. We need to give greater recognition to the energy and joy of children."
"Children were not born to wear shoes. In our concern for hygiene and safety, we develop amnesia. Give children a break! Remember how good mud feels between the toes?".
Here are some quotes from the book Movement Education in Physical Education by Hayes Kruger and Jane Myers Kruger:
".... little children ... should be operating barefooted whenever possible in order to develop strong, healthy feet."
"Balanced landings are to be stressed. ... The ankles and knees bend, the degree depending upon the force of the landing. Remember, if the shock is not absorbed through action by the feet, ankles, and knees, it will be absorbed elsewhere. ... "Bare feet help to sensitize the feet to proper landings. There is objection in many quarters to the notion that children should go barefooted. Watch children who have gone barefooted in their educational gymnastics lesson and you will see soft, controlled landings in locomotor actions. Jumps, skips, and other actions are performed much better than when sneakers are worn. The sneaker has the same effect as the soft mat. It doesn't 'hurt' to land, so why bend the knees and flex the ankles? That is, until it is too late."
See also the Perceptual Motor Program at Caulfield Junior College in Melbourne, Australia.
Excerpts from Perceptual-Motor Plans Level 1 by Jack Capon:
p. 4 " Upon entering the room to participate, students are asked to remove their shoes and socks. This is done for safety and to provide a better tactile and kinesthetic feel for movement as the student interacts with various pieces of equipment."
p. 7 "Assist students with clothing problems. All participants are asked to remove shoes and socks before going to stations."
p. 8 "Improper clothing is probably the greatest safety hazard in any perceptual-motor program. ... Some types of shoes and boots can be very awkward and slippery to move in. Students are safest in their bare feet."
p 78 (a sample letter to parents) "For the safety and maximum benefit of participants, it is required that all children remove their shoes and socks before a lesson begins."
Medical Research on the health of going barefoot.