The development of motor skills by a physical education programme in preschool children: a preschool-based controlled trial

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Abstract

Purpose: Unlike other European countries, Italian kindergartens donot include the physical education teacher in the school organicpersonnel. This is frequently associated with the lack of opportunitiesto perform physical education by preschool children. The aim of thisstudy was to analyse the effects of a specific physical educationprogram (PEP) on the quotient of gross motor development (QGMD)in preschool children.Methods: We conducted a school-based non-randomised controlledtrial. It involved 119 children, clustered in a control group (CG,n = 29, age 52.1 ± 8.65 months; height 1.1 ± 0.07 m, body weight19.2 ± 5.55 kg, body mass index (BMI) 16.9 ± 3.16) and an interventiongroup (IG, n = 90, age 57.4 ± 9.42 months; height1.1 ± 0.06 m, body weight 19.3 ± 3.65 kg, BMI 16 ± 1.75). Participantswere assessed for locomotor ability and object control skillsusing the Italian version of GMD test, before and after the experimentalperiod.Results: IG increased the locomotor object-control skills and QGMDby 24.4%, 9.7% and 10.4%, in response to PEP. The mean differenceof the QGMD between CG and IG, in the pre and post period, wassignificantly higher for the IG (11.3 vs 3.2, p = 0.0082). Specificitems did not increase in the CG, while a highly significantimprovement was observed in all the items in the IG, in response toPEP.Conclusions: The specific PEP improved fundamental motor skills inpreschool children. Consistently with the growing research (Zenget al. 2017), interventions based on scheduled physical exercisesensure health benefits for preschool children.ReferenceZeng N, Ayyub M, Sun H, Wen X, Xiang P, Gao Z (2017) Effects ofphysical activity on motor skills and cognitive development in earlychildhood: a systematic review. Biomed Res Int 2017:2760716
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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