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Preschool Teachers’ Preparedness for Knowing, Enabling, and Meeting the Active Start Guidelines for Physical Activity

Ali Brian, Adam Pennell, Ryan Sacko, and Michaela Schenkelburg

Most early childhood centers charge preschool teachers with delivering gross motor skill content and providing physical activity (PA) opportunities to children. Little is known regarding preschool teachers’ background and confidence and the extent to which centers meet the Active Start Guidelines (ASGs) for PA. Preschool teachers (N = 102) completed an exploratory survey and the Self-Perception Profile for Adults Athletic Competence subscale. Eighty-eight percent possessed no formal background in physical education (PE)/PA, while most teachers (77%) were not aware of the ASGs. Most participants (92%) reported that they do not provide daily, teacher-led PE/PA programming, and less than half (47%) provided at least 60 min of daily free play. Preschool teachers were found to have below average perceived motor competence. Recommendations are provided for preservice teacher training programs, policymakers, as well as professional development of in-service teachers.

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Head, Toes, Knees, SKIP! Improving Preschool Children’s Executive Function Through a Motor Competence Intervention

Kelly Lynn Mulvey, Sally Taunton, Adam Pennell, and Ali Brian

Executive function skills play a critical role in school readiness for young children and can be improved through targeted intervention. However, children in preschool often experience deficits in multiple developmental domains. Thus, there is a need for integrated interventions that target multiple domains in concert. This study tested whether a proven gross motor skill intervention, Successful Kinesthetic Instruction for Preschoolers (SKIP), also improves preschoolers’ executive function. Participants were randomly assigned to either intervention (n = 50) or control (n = 57) conditions. Prior to intervention, executive function and gross motor skills were tested. Intervention occurred for 6 weeks with 30-min sessions twice weekly (dose = 360 min). At posttest, participants in the SKIP condition showed significantly better gross motor and executive function skills than control participants. Results are the first to document the effectiveness of the SKIP intervention in also improving children’s executive function.

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Self-Perceptions, Parents’ Perceptions, Metaperceptions, and Locomotor Skills in Adolescents With Visual Impairments: A Preliminary Investigation

Alexandra Stribing, Adam Pennell, Emily N. Gilbert, Lauren J. Lieberman, and Ali Brian

Individuals with visual impairments (VI) trend toward lower motor competence when compared with peers without VI. Various forms of perception often affects motor competence. Thus, it is important to explore factors that influence forms of perception and their differential effects on motor competence for those with VI. Therefore, the purposes of this study were to explore and describe the differential effects of age, gender, and degree of vision on self-perceptions, parents’ perceptions, metaperceptions, and locomotor skills, and to examine potential associations among all variables with actual locomotor competence for adolescents with VI. Adolescents with VI completed two questionnaires and the Test of Gross Motor Development-Third Edition. Parents completed a parent perception questionnaire. Mann–Whitney U and Kruskal–Wallis H analyses showed no differential effects for gender or age on any dependent measures. Degree of vision affected locomotor skills, but not any other factor. Spearman rho correlations showed significant associations among locomotor and self-perceptions, degree of vision and locomotor, and metaperceptions with parents’ perceptions. Adolescents reported relatively high self-perceptions and metaperceptions; however, their actual locomotor competence and parents’ perceptions were relatively low. Findings may help situate future intervention strategies targeting parents supporting their children’s locomotor skills through self-perceptions.

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Performance Metrics From Product-Oriented Measures of Fundamental Motor Skills—A Comparison and Developmental Perspective

Kara K. Palmer, Adam Pennell, Bryan Terlizzi, Michael A. Nunu, David F. Stodden, and Leah E. Robinson

This study (a) examined the associations among different performance metrics derived from different strategies (i.e., maximum and average scores) and trials from product-oriented measures of motor skills, and (b) explored how different performance metrics from product-oriented assessments of motor skills change in young children with typical development. Children (N = 279; 156 girls; M age = 4.44 years) completed a battery of product-oriented assessments for throwing (in meters per second, five trials); kicking (in meters per second, five trials); jumping (in centimeters, five trials); running (in meters per second, two trials); and hopping (in meters per second, four trials—two preferred foot, two nonpreferred foot). A total of 36 performance metrics were derived—throw (n = 7), kick (n = 7), jump (n = 7), run (n = 4), and hop (n = 11). Intraclass correlations examined reliability among performance metrics for each skill; linear mixed models examined whether variations changed across early childhood. There was excellent reliability among all performance metrics for each skill (all ICC > .90). Linear mixed models revealed that children’s motor performance improved for two metrics of the throw, five variations of the jump, and three metrics of the hop (all p < .05). Researchers should be aware that some performance metrics from product-oriented assessments (e.g., maximum and average of three or five trials) are highly related and change, whereas others do not.