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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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Jacqueline D. Goodway and Mary E. Rudisill

This study was conducted to determine the influence of a motor skill intervention (MSI) program on the perceived competence and social acceptance of African American preschoolers who are at risk of school failure/developmental delay. Two groups of preschoolers enrolled in a compensatory prekindergarten program participated in a 12-week intervention. The motor skill intervention (MSI) group received an MSI program, while the control group (C) received the regular prekindergarten program. All children completed Harter’s Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance prior to and following the 12-week program. The results indicated that all children, regardless of group, reported high perceived physical and cognitive competence and high perceived maternal and peer acceptance. Additionally, the MSI group reported significantly higher perceived physical competence scores after receiving the MSI program. The MSI group also reported higher perceived physical competence than the C group on postintervention scores. No gender differences were found. It was concluded that perceived competence and social acceptance were enhanced by participation in an MSI program.

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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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Pedro Ángel Latorre-Román, Felipe García-Pinillos and David Mora-López

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to examine age and sex differences in standing long jump (SLJ) and to determine norm-referenced values for Spanish preschool children.

Method:

A total of 3555 children, aged 3–6 years, participated in this study (1746 girls and 1809 boys). To measure explosive leg power, the SLJ was used.

Results:

In the analysis of reliability using test-retest with 86 children (48% boys, age = 56.22 ± 10.34 months), the following descriptive results were obtained (mean, SD): at pretest = 76.53 ± 20.20 cm, at retest = 74.56 ± 21.12 cm (p = .124), and an intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.913 (95% confidence interval = 0.866–0.943). Boys exhibited a greater performance than girls at 3- to 5-years old, but no significant differences were found at 6 years old. In whole group, the SLJ performance was higher with increased age. However, no significant differences were found between boys aged 5 and 6 years.

Conclusion:

This study provides references values for muscle strength assessment through SLJ test carried out on a large sample of Spanish preschoolers.

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Vanesa España-Romero, Jonathan A. Mitchell, Marsha Dowda, Jennifer R. O’Neill and Russell R. Pate

The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between sedentary behavior and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), measured by accelerometry, with body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference in 357 preschool children. Linear mixed models were used adjusting for race/ethnicity, parental education, and preschool. Follow-up analyses were performed using quantile regression. Among boys, MVPA was positively associated with BMI z-score (b = 0.080, p = .04) but not with waist circumference; quantile regression showed that MVPA was positively associated with BMI z-score at the 50th percentile (b = 0.097, p < .05). Among girls, no associations were observed between sedentary behavior and MVPA in relation to mean BMI z-score and mean waist circumference. Quantile regression indicated that, among girls at the 90th waist circumference percentile, a positive association was found with sedentary behavior (b = 0.441, p < .05), and a negative association was observed with MVPA (b = −0.599, p < .05); no associations were found with BMI z-score. In conclusion, MVPA was positively associated with BMI z-score among boys, and MVPA was negatively associated and sedentary behavior was positively associated with waist circumference among girls at the 90th percentile.

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Camille Gagné and Isabelle Harnois

Background:

Data available indicate that numerous childcare workers are not strongly motivated to engage children aged 3–5 in physical activity. Using the theory of planned behavior as the main theoretical framework, this study has 2 objectives: to identify the determinants of the intention of childcare workers to engage preschoolers in physical activity and to identify the variables that could be used to develop an intervention to motivate childcare workers to support preschoolers’ physical activity.

Methods:

174 childcare workers from 60 childcare centers selected at random in 2 regions of Quebec completed a self-administered questionnaire assessing the constructs of the theory of planned behavior as well as past behavior, descriptive norm and moral norm.

Results:

Moral norm, perceived behavioral control and subjective norm explained 85% of the variance in intention to engage the children in physical activity.

Conclusions:

To motivate childcare workers, it is necessary that they perceive that directors, children’s parents and coworkers approve of their involvement in children’s physical activity. In addition, their ability to overcome perceived barriers (lack of time, loaded schedule, inclement weather) should be developed. Access to a large outdoor yard might also help motivate childcare workers.

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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.

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Gavin Abbott, Jill Hnatiuk, Anna Timperio, Jo Salmon, Keren Best and Kylie D. Hesketh

Background:

Parental modeling has been shown to be important for school-aged children’s physical activity (PA) and television (TV) viewing, yet little is known about its impact for younger children. This study examined cross-sectional and 3-year longitudinal associations between PA and TV viewing behaviors of parents and their preschool children.

Methods:

In 2008–2009 (T1), parents in the Healthy Active Preschool and Primary Years (HAPPY) cohort study (n = 450) in Melbourne, Australia, self-reported their weekly PA and TV viewing and proxy-reported their partner’s PA and TV viewing and their 3- to 5-year-old preschool child’s TV viewing. Children’s PA was assessed via accelerometers. Repeat data collection occurred in 2011–2012 (T2).

Results:

Mothers’ and fathers’ PAs were associated with PA among preschool girls at T1, but not boys. Parents’ TV viewing times were significant correlates of girls’ and boys’ TV viewing at T1. Longitudinally, mothers’ PA at baseline predicted boys’ PA at T2, whereas sex-specific associations were found for TV viewing, with mothers’ and fathers’ TV viewing at T1 associated with girls’ and boys’ TV viewing respectively at T2.

Conclusions:

The PA and TV viewing of both parents are significantly associated with these behaviors in preschool children. The influence of the sex-matched parent appears to be important longitudinally for children’s TV viewing.

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Sharon Taverno Ross, Marsha Dowda, Ruth Saunders and Russell Pate

Little is known about how screen-based sedentary behavior at home and in preschool influences children’s health and activity patterns. The current study examined the individual and cumulative influence of TV viewing at home and in preschool on children’s physical activity (PA) and weight status. Children (n = 339) attending 16 preschools in South Carolina were grouped into high and low TV groups based on parent report of children’s TV viewing at home and director report of TV use/rules in preschool. T-tests and mixed model ANOVAs examined differences in weight status and PA (min/hr) by high and low TV groups. Results revealed that children who were classified as High TV both at home and in preschool had significantly lower levels of moderate-to-vigorous PA compared with their Low TV counterparts (8.3 (0.3) min/hr vs. 7.6 (0.2) min/hr, p < .05). However, there were no significant differences in weight status or physical activity between the high and low TV groups at home or in preschool when examined individually. These findings demonstrate the importance of total environmental TV exposure on preschooler’s PA. Longitudinal and observational research to assess preschoolers’ cumulative screen-based sedentary behavior and its relationship with PA and weight status is needed.

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Lauriece L. Zittel and Jeffrey A. McCubbin

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of an integrated physical education setting on the motor performance of preschool children with developmental delays. Subjects participated in segregated and integrated physical education classes and were observed practicing locomotor and object control skills. The quality of performance was analyzed to determine the number of critical elements present and the level of teacher or peer prompt required to initiate and complete each performance. A single-subject reversal design (A-B-A-B) was used. Four children with developmental delays were filmed within an 8-week school schedule while practicing two fundamental gross motor skills during segregated and integrated conditions. The results provide evidence that children with developmental delays are able to maintain their level of gross motor skill and independence within an integrated physical education setting. Although day-to-day variability was calculated for each subject, overall skill level remained stable and level of independence was not compromised in the integrated setting.