EXERCISE AND QUALITY OF LIFE
Short communication
Volume 2, No. 1, 2010, 67-75
UDC 796.012.1/.2-053.4
EXAMINATION OF MOTOR SKILLS IN
KINDERGARTEN CHILDREN
Josip Lepeö*
Hungarian Language Teacher Training Faculty in Subotica
University of Novi Sad
Abstract
The purpose of the research was to study 680 children - 370 boys and 310 girls of to 5-7
year age, they were examined concerning their motor skill. It was found that physical
advancement of children reaches, or more exactly exceeds the home references by 50 percent.
Their physical advancement is a good base for the physical performances. Evaluated the motor
skill of children it was found that in this age interval the girls are better in balancing compared to
the boys. The growth rate of girls is also higher than that of the boys. These results are
interpreted as characteristics of motion development at the end of the small child age. Uniform
development rate was observed in running with evasion and in the two tests elaborated by our
group, the boomerang running and the obstacle course. Reliability and validity of both tests were
qualified excellent expect for one case. They are both recommended for practical use.
Keywords: motor skill, kindergarten, children
Introduction
In the recent years the motor skill as well as its changes and components have been
studied in 410 kindergarten age children (Lepeö &Raji„, 2007). As a result of this study it was
found that the physical power of kindergarten age children is determined not only by conditional
capacities which support the power but mainly the level of basic forms of motion or the ability to
perform motions. Based on these studies it was supposed that in kindergarten age the differences
in physical power can bee explained by the differences of skill ability. Following this
observation it was decided to study the motor skills of the given age group or more exactly to try
out two different tests which are utilizable for complete evaluation of this feature of children.
The present study demonstrates the results of the above-mentioned examination.
* Corresponding author. University of Novi Sad, Hungarian Language Teacher Training Faculty , 24000 Subotica,
ätrosmajerova 11, e-mail: lepes@tippnet.rs
© 2010 Faculty of Sport and Physical Education, University of Novi Sad, Serbia
67
J. Lepes
Method
During the academic year 2007/2008, 680 children - 370 boys and 310 girls were
examined. The age end sex distribution of the participants as well as the average age of different
age groups are given in.
Table 1
Age and sex distribution of sample (the average age of the given age group is shown in brackets)
Age
Boys
Girls
Total
Five-year-olds
145 (5.09)
98 (5.08)
243
Six-year-olds
120 (6.06)
129 (6.05)
249
Seven-year-olds
105 (6.49)
83 (6.49)
188
Total
370
310
680
The methods of examinations can be divided into two groups: the examinations of
body dimensions and the tests of physical power. Two body dimensions, i.e. the height and body
mass were measured according to the standards of anthropometry. By collecting these data our
aim was to determine the body development of children such as a background variable which
may influence the physical power. The motor skills were assessed by four tests. Two of them
were Fleischmanís running with evasion test and Standing on one foot test which were used as
standard tests while the over two tests, the Boomerang running test and the Obstacle course test,
were our own developed tests.
Boomerang running; A quadrangle area (100 x
150 cm) was drown, with the corners and the centre
marked. At each corner of the area a medicine ball was
placed. To four directions from the centre through the
midpoint of the sidelines, at 200 cm, suitable objects were
placed. The exercise was the following: children ran from
the medicine ball to the object located at 200 cm distance,
and going around it they proceeded towards the direction
of the next medicine ball. Approaching it they started
crawling (hands and feet on the floor), went around it, then
stood up and started going towards the next ball. Each
medicine ball and each object at 2 m distance had to be
gone around. The test was finished when the children
returned and crossed the starting line in a crawling
position, having gone around the 4 medicine balls. Time was measured to 0.1 s accuracy. The
children completed the course twice in the same order. The results of both trials were recorded.
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Examination of motor skills in kindergarten children
Figure 2 Obstacle course
Obstacle course.
The
following course was built: Five
medicine balls were set up at 1.5 m
from the starting line, and et each 1 m
from that. A 50 cm high obstacle was
set up at 1 m from the last medicine
ball, then place on a small table. One 40
cm high obstacle was also positioned in
line with the one on the other side, At
2.5 m distance from this obstacle two
balls were placed
2 meters far from
each other. The imaginary line
connecting the two balls was at the
right angle to the direction of the
progress. Another obstacle mat was
placed proportionally on the remaining
distance, in one line with the starting line. The completion of the obstacle course was as
following: after the starting signal was given, children ran between the medicine balls with
slalom, then passed under the first obstacle. Then they turned and jumped onto the small table,
crawled along the surface, then turned round and jumped off on the other end. Having made a
turn, they stepped over the second obstacle, and slid along in a sitting position up to the line of
the balls. They stood up, changed the two balls and rolled along the mat to its other side. Only
one trial before testing was allowed. The examiner explained the next part of the test during the
execution. The time was measured to 0.1 s accuracy. The children had to pass the course twice
and both of them were recorded.
The basic statistical data; the mean, standard deviation, variation coefficient as well as
minimum and maximum values were calculated after checking the accuracy of data. The
correlation between the analysed parameters were calculated and a factor analysis was carried
out. From the latter one only the weight factor was used to characterize the validity of new tests.
In verification of new tests it is fundamental to analyse these two characteristics. Reliability
means that the test gives the consistent results each time it is repeated. Validity refers to degree
to wich the test accurately measures what it was designed to measure. Both are considered good
if the correlation coefficient is higher than 0.8 while the value higher than 0.85 means excellent
metric characteristics. For reliability the method of tests and retest was applied.
Table 2
Reliability and validity of Boomerang running and Obstacle course tests
Boomerang running
Obstacle course
Boys
Girls
Boys
Girls
Age Reliability
Validity
Reliability
Validity
Reliability
Validity Reliability Validity
5 yrs
.886
.931
.947
.931
.869
.937
.941
.937
6 yrs
.948
.977
.883
.951
.958
.993
.911
.981
7 yrs
.960
.971
.817
.888
.942
.979
.928
.934
69
J. Lepes
It can be stated that reliability and validity values are excellent in both tests, in all age
groups, in boys and girls. Thus these tests are suggested for assessment of motor skills of
kindergarten age children.
Results
The body growth related to the assessments of motor skill was analyzed by the
comparison of height and body mass to the standard values. As a result of the comparison it is
possible to evaluate the motor power referring to different levels of somatic condition and
development. Finally it could be examined if the somatic and motor development are parallel to
each other. However for this purpose it necessary to get the standard values of motor power. The
statistical data of participantís height are shown in Table 3.
Table 3
Height of participants: descriptive statistics
Age
M
sx
SD
Min
Max
KV
Boys
5-year-olds
112,42
0,41
6,02
94,6
128,56
5,29
6-year-olds
117,89
0,32
5,75
101,0
134,40
4,89
7-year-olds
121,0
0,36
5,49
107,0
137,0
4,51
Girls
5-year-olds
111,21
0,40
6,02
97,22
136,25
5,40
6-year-olds
116,98
0,34
6,05
99,2
135,0
5,15
7-year-olds
121,68
0,40
5,80
101,0
138,2
4,69
M ñ Mean; sx - Mean Standard Error; SD ñ Standard Deviation; Min ñ Minimal Value; Max ñ
Maximal Value; KV ñ Koefficient of Variability
The body mass is more sensitive to the influence of environment, e.g. the nutrition,
way of life and regular exercise, than the height. Therefore its variability is also higher (see the
dispersion and the variation coefficient) than that of height. The minimum and maximum values
also refer to the fact that in the samples there are both underweight and overweight children. It is
well known that the bigger body mass, i.e. the adiposis is disadvantageous from point of view of
efficiacy in some motor tasks. Thus the bigger variability of body mass may cause variations of
the motor power. The statistical data of body mass are shown in Table 4.
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Examination of motor skills in kindergarten children
Table 4
Body mass of participants: descriptive statistics
Age
M
sx
SD
Min
Max
KV
Boys
5-year-olds
20,01
0,22
3,23
12,4
30,8
16,17
6-year-olds
22,09
0,21
3,64
13,3
39,2
16,60
7-year-olds
23,01
0,25
3,79
13,0
45,3
16,80
Girls
5-year-olds
19,29
0,23
3,41
12,3
34,0
18,01
6-year-olds
21,61
0,23
4,09
13,0
44,9
19,01
7-year-olds
23,01
0,28
4,04
12,4
41,0
17,51
M ñ Mean; sx - Mean Standard Error; SD ñ Standard Deviation; Min ñ Minimal Value; Max ñ
Maximal Value; KV ñ Koefficient of Variability
If five to six years age grouop, the average height of boys is bigger than that of girls, as
it was found in body mass as well. In seven years age group, there is no difference in body mass
between sexes. Finally it can be concluded that the examined children have been in good state of
bodily development thus is could not be a limiting factor from point of view of physical power.
As it was mentioned in the mehod section, the motor skills of children was studied by four motor
tests. The balancing and running with evasion tests are well-known. The later requires the ability
of good sense of locality and the ability for reorganization of motion. The so-called boomerang
running developed by our team for usage in the kindergarten milieu is similar to it. It has been
found that all types of coordination abilities contributed in accomplishment of the obstacle
course.
71
J. Lepes
Balancing. The statistical data of tests are shown in Table 5.
Table 5
Balancing: descriptive statistics
Age
M
sx
SD
Min
Max
KV
Boys
5-year-olds
30,11
0,92
13,39
10,0
59,0
43,66
6-year-olds
32,76
0,88
15,74
10,0
60,0
48,12
7-year-olds
35,29
1,11
16,80
12,0
60,0
47,58
Girls
5-year-olds
30,09
0,92
14,12
10,0
60,0
46,88
6-year-olds
34,33
0,83
15,36
10,0
60,0
44,72
7-year-olds
36,49
1,10
16,37
10,0
60,0
44,84
M ñ Mean; sx - Mean Standard Error; SD ñ Standard Deviation; Min ñ Minimal Value; Max ñ
Maximal Value; KV ñ Koefficient of Variability
Significant relative dispersion observed in both groups, i.e. boys and girls, indicates
that samples are highly variable. The balancing power improves continuously between the age of
five and seven. The better balancing capacity of girls compared to that of boys near the end of
the young child age may be interpreted as a peculiarity of development of motion in girlsí group,
of course with a very wide range of variability.
Running with evasion. The statistical data are shown in Table 6.
Table 6
Running with evasion: descriptive statistics
Age
M
sx
SD
Min
Max
KV
Boys
5-year-olds
33,29
0,50
7,55
17,7
59,0
22,13
6-year-olds
31,11
0,40
7,02
15,1
57,0
22,55
7-year-olds
28,34
0,52
7,72
12,0
55,7
27,28
Girls
5-year-olds
34,04
0,51
7,69
16,1
57,5
22,60
6-year-olds
31,54
0,42
7,62
11,0
63,9
24,21
7-year-olds
29,71
0,51
7,49
12,4
55,9
25,21
M ñ Mean; sx - Mean Standard Error; SD ñ Standard Deviation; Min ñ Minimal Value; Max ñ
Maximal Value; KV ñ Koefficient of Variability
72
Examination of motor skills in kindergarten children
It was found that the average power in relation to to the different ages improved
continuously. The total development of boys during the two years was bigger than that of girls.
The results of boys were higher in the Kanjiûa kindergarten as well.
Boomerang running. The statistical data show an improvement of 3.2 s in boys and
2.51 s in girls between the age of 5 and 7 years.
Table 7
Boomerang running
Age
M
sx
SD
Min
Max
KV
Boys
5-year-olds
25,58
0,47
6,58
12,8
49,0
26,58
6-year-olds
24,66
0,42
7,59
10,7
58,0
30,50
7-year-olds
22,45
0,46
6,87
13,1
60,0
30,79
Girls
5-year-olds
25,88
0,48
7,29
10,6
53,0
28,30
6-year-olds
24,71
0,36
6,94
10,2
50,0
27,02
7-year-olds
23,32
0,44
6,70
14,2
48,0
28,71
M ñ Mean; sx - Mean Standard Error; SD ñ Standard Deviation; Min ñ Minimal Value; Max ñ
Maximal Value; KV ñ Koefficient of Variability
The difference between the extreme values and the relative dispersion resulting from it,
are bigger than values found in running with evasion. It allows the conclusion that this test is
more complicated for this age group than running with evasion. In both sexes the relative
dispersion in 7 years age was bigger than in the previous ages. This finding suggests that the
dimension of the test-field should be modified because of the height increase in the period
between the 5 and 7 years age, as in our examinations this height increase was 8.5 cm in boys
9.85 cm in girls. It is supposed that evasion of objects which are close to each other is more
difficult for taller children especially when they have to go round the objects on their hand and
knees.
73
J. Lepes
Obstacle course. The statistical data shown in Table 8.
Table 8
Obstacle course: descriptive statistics
Age
M
sx
SD
Min
Max
KV
Boys
5-year-olds
32,7
1,24
7,41
23,1
51,4
22,49
6-year-olds
28,51
0,82
6,59
15,2
50,1
23,10
7-year-olds
26,90
1,16
6,41
14,98
41,9
23,80
Girls
5-year-olds
31,71
1,36
9,8
19,7
58,7
26,79
6-year-olds
29,80
0,97
7,55
18,5
56,8
25,39
7-year-olds
27,01
0,99
5,34
17,0
40,1
19,79
M ñ Mean; sx - Mean Standard Error; SD ñ Standard Deviation; Min ñ Minimal Value; Max ñ
Maximal Value; KV ñ Koefficient of Variability
The changes of mean values across different age groups are uniform, however the
improvement is higher between the age 5 and 6 years and lower between the age of 6 and 7.
Boys show better performance in every age group but the total increase is bigger than in girlsí
group. Although the relative dispersion is acceptable, the extreme values demonstrate that there
are very agile and very clumsy children in the sample as well.
Discussion
The height and body mass of children were measured for the assessment of bodily
development. When comparing obtained data to the Vojvodina reference values, it was found
that average values of boys does not reach 75% while in the other age groups it is bigger. The
average values of girls at the age of 6 and 7 are higher than 50%, and the means of other age
groups are higher than 75% which is a favorable base for the motor performance. The motor
tests examined the developmental state of coordination abilities. It was concluded that in the
transition period between the nursery and the school, besides the average values of motor
performance, the knowledge of basic development of skills connected to the fundamental forms
of motion are also important. Analysis of age-dependent differences based on the motor
performances shows that the sensitive period of motor development is the period between the
age 6-7 years. It occurs not by chance but as a result of systematic factors influencing the
development. Based on the results it can be pointed out that the transition period between the
nursery and the school is a very sensitive and crucial period from point of view of motor
development. This period may determine the acquirement of different types of motor skills
needed in the different branches of sport in later ages.
74
Examination of motor skills in kindergarten children
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Submitted May 20, 2010
Accepted June 25, 2010
75