The present study aimed to assess the effect of age and gender on preschool children’s specific motor skills. Three hundred children (154 boys and 146 girls) aged 60 to 71 months, were divided into two age subgroups (60-65 and 66-71 months) and were examined in three motor tasks: bead threading, shape copying and postural stability, assessing visual motor, graphomotor and balance skills respectively.Results showed a significant effect of age in the graphomotor task, with older children performing better than younger ones. As regard gender, girls scored significantly better than boys on both visual motor and graphomotor tasks, while boys outperformed girls on the balance task. The findings are discussed on the basis of biological (different rates of brain maturation and gender differences in brain structure and function) and environmental (opportunities and encouragement) factors that influence motor behavior.
The aim of this study was to examine the ways in which preschool children express competitive behaviors and their desire to excel. In this study 195 preschool children (aged 4-5 years old) took part. The methodology was based on a phenomenological approach and data were collected through observational procedures. The observation included 165 hours during a 10 weeks period in 11 classes. The qualitative analysis of data showed that preschool children may express their desire to excel i) verbally (words and phrases) and ii) physically (movements and gestures). More specifically, they express competitive behaviors mainly: i) by making comparisons, ii) disagreeing with each other iii) intervening during the talk of another child iv) taking the place of another child, v) grabbing objects that another child possesses and vi) pulling, pushing and kicking other children to take their places or their objects. In conclusion, the results of this study show that children in the preschool age demonstrate a variety of antagonistic behavior both verbally and physically.
How is the rhythmic ability of pre-school children affected by the implementation of a music-movement program?
Rhythm and music can be very significant for a person’s development, especially during the early years of life. This study’s aim was to examine the rhythmic ability of 180 preschool children before and after the implementation of a music-movement program. A group of 90 children (45 boys and 45 girls) attended a 6-week intervention program, including two 45-minute lessons per week, whereas the other 90 children (control group) did not attend any kind of program. The High/Scope Rhythmic Analysis Test (Weikart, 1989) was used for the evaluation of rhythmic ability before and after the implementation of the rhythmic program. Girls surpassed greatly the boys in total score in both measures (p< 0.01), and the experiment group surpassed significantly the control group in the final measure (p<0.001). It can be concluded that as long as suitably designed and structured musical movement program- with whole body exercises and games accompanied by rhythmic and musical stimuli- contribute to the progress of the rhythmic ability of pre-schoolers, it's beneficial to be included in their formal education.
Rhythmic ability is one of the coordination abilities and its development is related to motor skills improvement, academic achievement, dancing performance and sports. Its significance indicates a valid and reliable assessment tool. Weikart’s “Beat Competence Analysis Test” (“BCAT”) is a battery that evaluates rhythmic ability and it‘s been applied in many researches in Greece but its adequacy in Greek population has not been examined yet. The purpose of the present study was the preliminary examination of the testretest reliability of the “BCAT” battery in Greek population. Eighty one students, 5-8 years old (18 kindergarten pupils, 23 1st grade, 21 2nd grade and 19 3rd grade students) were administered the battery twice. Intraclass and Cronbach’s a coefficients were used for the statistical analysis of data. The results revealed that the test-retest reliability was supported but not enough, so.
The purpose of the present study is to evaluate gross and fine motor performance of roma children and to investigate the possible differences between roma and non-roma children. Twenty Roma and 20 non-roma preschoolers and first grade primary school children participated in this study. The two following tests have been used: The Test of Gross Motor Development-2 (TGMD) (Ulrich, 2000), and the Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration (VMI) (Beery, 1997). The data shows that there were statistically significant differences only in the VMI, which shows roma children’s underachievement in fine motor skills. This underdevelopment of fine motor skills may be impeded by the different daily routine of their families and their infrequent attendance of kindergarten. The significance of early childhood education is being emphasized as a key component of roma’s school success.