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Jo E. Cowden and Bobby L. Eason

PL 99-457 and PL 101-176 have presented a new challenge for adapted physical education. Federal legislation has provided financial incentive for states to increase the intensity and duration of early intervention programs for the infant/toddler/preschool child with disabilities (ITPCD). The present article proposes a conceptual framework for a new subfield, pediatric adapted physical education (PAPE). The origins and essence of federal legislation affecting infants, toddlers, and preschoolers is explained. Because the legislation requires a multi-agency/multidisciplined approach, the role of adapted physical education within the larger context is explained, as is the professional preparation of practitioners of the new subfield. Finally, one state’s initiative is explained to serve as an action plan for other adapted physical education leaders.

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Martin E. Block and Timothy D. Davis

Traditional motor development programs for preschool children with disabilities usually utilize a behavior-analytic approach in which children are given specific training and instruction on identified IEP objectives. While this approach has its merits in terms of time-on-task and focus on critical IEP objectives, it is not consistent with current developmentally appropriate philosophies in early childhood education. One of the newer techniques suggested by early childhood educators as a “best practice” in educating young children is an activity-based or play-based approach. Children still have individually determined goals and objectives, but these goals and objectives are “embedded” in a variety of child-directed play activities. The teacher acts as a facilitator, encouraging the child to practice individual goals while exploring the environment. The purpose of this article is to introduce the concept of activity-based intervention and provide examples of how it can be implemented within a motor development/physical education context for preschool children with disabilities.

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Dylan P. Cliff, Anthony D. Okely, Leif M. Smith and Kim McKeen

Gender differences in cross-sectional relationships between fundamental movement skill (FMS) subdomains (locomotor skills, object-control skills) and physical activity were examined in preschool children. Forty-six 3- to 5-year-olds (25 boys) had their FMS video assessed (Test of Gross Motor Development II) and their physical activity objectively monitored (Actigraph 7164 accelerometers). Among boys, object-control skills were associated with physical activity and explained 16.9% (p = .024) and 13.7% (p = .049) of the variance in percent of time in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and total physical activity, respectively, after controlling for age, SES and z-BMI. Locomotor skills were inversely associated with physical activity among girls, and explained 19.2% (p = .023) of the variance in percent of time in MVPA after controlling for confounders. Gender and FMS subdomain may influence the relationship between FMS and physical activity in preschool children.

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Virginie Nicaise, David Kahan, Karen Reuben and James F. Sallis

This study investigated the impact of renovation and redesign of a university preschool’s outdoor space on children’s sedentary behavior, light activity, and moderate-to-vigorous-physical-activity (MVPA) during unstructured recess. Physical activity was measured by accelerometry and direct observation in two independent samples of 50 (baseline) and 57 (postintervention) children (M age=4.4 yrs ± 0.5). Controlling for gender, age, BMI and recess length, observational data, but not accelerometry, revealed a significant decrease in intervals spent sedentary (-26.5%) and increases in light physical activity (+11.6%) and MVPA (+14.9%). Higher levels of MVPA were associated with specific environmental changes (new looping cycle path, OR = 2.18; increased playground open space, OR = 7.62; and new grass hill, OR = 3.27). Decreased sedentary behavior and increased light activity and MVPA may be realized with environmental changes that promote continuous and novel movement experiences in more expansive spaces.

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Sheila C. Fairweather, John J. Reilly, Stanley Grant, Arthur Whittaker and James Y. Paton

The primary aim of this study was to assess the ability of the CSA accelerometer to measure physical activity in preschool children. A secondary aim was to examine inter-instrument differences and the effect of accelerometer placement on output. Eleven subjects (mean age = 4.0 years, SD = 0.4) wore the CSA-7164 for a 45-min preschool exercise class. They were observed throughout the class, and their engagement in activity was quantified using the Children’s Physical Activity Form (CPAF). The effect of accelerometer positioning (left vs. right hip) was assessed in 10 subjects over 2 days. CSA output during the class was highly correlated with the CPAF score (r = 0.87, p < .001), and rank order correlations between the 2 methods were also highly significant (r = 0.79, p < .01). Differences in CSA output between left and right hip reached statistical significance (paired t, p < .05), but these differences were small and probably of limited biological significance. The CSA appears to be an appropriate tool for assessment of physical activity in preschool children, but further studies on stability of activity as measured by CSA, as well as its validity, are urged.

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E. Kipling Webster, Danielle D. Wadsworth and Leah E. Robinson

This study examined the acute effects of a 10-min teacher-implemented classroom-based activity break (AB) on physical activity participation and time on-task in a preschool-age population. 118 (M age = 3.80 ± 0.69 years) students from one preschool served as participants. The intervention took place over 4 days: 2 days AB were conducted and 2 days typical instruction occurred. Physical activity was monitored via accelerometry and time on-task was measured by direct observation. Results demonstrated that AB led to a higher percent of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during the AB (M = 29.7%, p > .001). Breaks also promoted more on-task behavior (F U17 = 18.86, p > .001) following the AB. Specifically, the most off-task students before the break improved on-task behavior by 30 percentage points (p > .001). Percent of school day MVPA was also higher during AB days (i 117 = 3.274, p = .001). Findings indicate teachers may improve time on-task postbreak for preschoolers with a short bout of physical activity in the classroom, especially in children who are the most off-task. In addition, classroom-based AB resulted in marginal increases in MVPA during breaks that influenced whole day activity.

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Leanne Liggett, Andrew Gray, Winsome Parnell, Rob McGee and Yvette McKenzie

Background:

Objective measures, such as accelerometers, are increasingly being used to measure physical activity (PA) levels in children, and the use of validated and reliable instruments is desirable when measuring the effectiveness of programs. The purpose of this study was to determine the validity and reliability of the New Lifestyles NL-1000 accelerometer among preschoolers using a modified version of the Children’s Activity Rating Scale (CARS).

Methods:

Fourteen preschoolers wore the NL-1000 at their waist while the device measured activity levels [in seconds of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA)]. They were also videoed for approximately 12 minutes while participating in normal activities at an early childhood center. At approximately 2-minute intervals, activity level readings derived from the NL-1000 were recorded. The video footage was analyzed using a modified CARS technique and the CARS scores compared with data obtained from the accelerometer.

Results:

Within subject reliability was measured using intraclass correlation coefficients (0.58 for CARS and 0.59 for NL-1000). Furthermore, 95% of the variation in CARS could be explained by variation in the accelerometer counts, with 2.4% of the variation being participant-specific.

Conclusion:

The NL-1000 is a sufficiently reliable and valid tool for assessing MVPA in preschoolers.

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Melody Oliver, Philip John Schluter and Grant Schofield

Background:

Accelerometers are widely used to quantify physical activity (PA) in preschoolers, yet no ‘best practice’ method for data treatment exists. The purpose of this study was to develop a robust method for data reduction using contemporary statistical methods and apply it to preschoolers’ accelerometer data.

Methods:

Children age 2 to 5 years were recruited in Auckland, New Zealand, and asked to wear accelerometers over 7 days. Average daily PA rates per second were derived for participants, estimated using negative binomial generalized estimating equation (GEE) models. Overall participant rates were derived and compared using normal GEE models. Descriptive information for data analyzed were compared with that derived using traditional data inclusion approaches.

Results:

Data were gathered from 78 of the 93 enrolled children over a median of 7 days. Daily PA rates ranged from 1.27 to 17.64 counts per second (median 5.70). Compared with traditional approaches, this method had many advantages, including improved data retention, the computation of a continuous measure, and facilitating powerful multivariable regression analyses, while providing similar descriptive information to existing methods.

Conclusion:

PA rates were successfully calculated for preschoolers’ activity description and advantages of the approach identified. This method holds promise for future use and merits further application and enhancement.

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Fotini Venetsanou and Antonis Kambas

Background:

This study investigated if motor proficiency (MP) in preschool age associate with physical activity (PA) in adolescence.

Methods:

In 2004, the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-Short Form (BOTMP-SF) (7) was administered to 413 children, aged 4–6 years, who were classified to MP groups according to their BOTMP-SF total score (TS). In 2014, the PA of 106 former participants (47 boys, 59 girls) was measured with Omron pedometers. MP [three (high; above average; average)] × gender (two) ANOVA and Bonferroni tests were computed on average of steps/week.

Results:

A significant interaction between the two factors was revealed (F = 15.27, p < .001, η2=.153), indicating that MP influenced male and female PA differently. Only in average MP group, males presented higher PA than females, whereas there were no differences between the two genders in the higher MP groups. Moreover, the only significant difference in PA among male groups was that between high and above average MP groups, while in females there were significant differences among all groups.

Conclusion:

High MP at preschool age positively associated with the PA in adolescence, especially in females. Emphasis on the development of proficient young movers might be beneficial for lifelong PA.

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Danielle Jay

The purpose of this study was to determine whether a dance program for preschool handicapped children can influence their creativity. This study was conducted in two schools in Illinois with 17 preschool handicapped children (Program I, N = 12; Program II, N = 5), ages 3 to 5 years. In each school there was a Program I and Program II. The children in Program I participated in the 12-week dance program which was based on sensory experiences utilizing Laban’s effort actions. Those in Program II did not have the dance program but did participate in an adapted physical education program. At the beginning and end of the study, the Torrance Test of Thinking Creatively in Action and Movement (TCAM) was administered individually. It consisted of three subscales: fluency, imagination, and originality. A two-way MANCOVA on the TCAM scores revealed that the experimental group improved over the comparison group (p <.05) on the set of subscale scores. Subsequent univariate ANCOVA analyses were performed on the data to determine which dependent measures were significantly different between the groups. The results demonstrated that imagination (p <.01) was significantly changed by the dance program but that fluency and originality were not.