Children age 4 to 6 years from special education (n = 26), Head Start (n = 35), and typical preschool classes (n = 11) were assigned to a physical activity intervention or a language-enriched physical activity intervention. Language and motor skill performances were measured before, immediately following, and 3 months following the 24-session, 8-week intervention. Results illustrated that language instruction can be added to physical education lessons without requiring additional instructional time and, more importantly, without compromising improvement in motor skill performance. Further, preschool children exposed to language-enriched physical education improved their language skills regardless of whether their educational progress was characterized by a cognitive and/or language delay. Thus, physical activity appears to be an effective environment in which to enhance the cognitive development of preschool children of all abilities.
Fiona J. Connor-Kuntz is with Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, University Heights, OH 44118-3397. Gail M. Dummer is with the Department of Physical Education and Exercise Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.