Special Issue "Physical Activity and Motor Competence in Preschool Children"

A special issue of Children (ISSN 2227-9067). This special issue belongs to the section "Global and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 December 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Vladimir Martínez-Bello
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Teaching of Musical, Visual and Corporal Expression, University of Valencia, Spain; Body, movement, music and curricular practices-COS research group, University of Valencia, Spain
Interests: physical activity in the early childhood education context; physical education; direct observation
Dr. Isaac Estevan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Teaching of Musical, Visual and Corporal Expression, University of Valencia, Spain;
Physical activity and health promotion-AFIPS research group, University of Valencia, Spain;
AFIPS research group, University of Valencia, Spain.
Interests: motor competence; fundamental motor skills; motor development
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Early childhood is a key period in the construction of healthy life habits that affect the knowledge of children’s possibilities for action, and different synergies are generated among physical activity, actual and perceived motor competence, etc., which, when expressed in each of the different contexts in which children participate, challenge the teaching and scientific community to question their role in promoting a better quality of life for children. Thus, with the aim to increase scientific knowledge of the study of positive practices in and out the physical education setting, in this Special Issue, we are interested in systematic evaluation of physical activity and motor competence, as well as the identification of policies and programs, the role of families, teachers and practitioners, all of which have an impact on preschool children’s knowledge of themselves and their movement possibilities.

Dr. Vladimir Martínez-Bello
Dr. Isaac Estevan
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Children is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • physical activity
  • preschool children
  • early childhood education
  • motor competence
  • self-perception
  • fundamental motor skills
  • motor development

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Physical Activity and Motor Competence in Preschool Children
Children 2021, 8(4), 305; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8040305 - 16 Apr 2021
Viewed by 474
Abstract
Longitudinal evidence has demonstrated that engagement in physical activity (PA) and the development of motor competence (MC) have numerous tangible health and developmental benefits [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Motor Competence in Preschool Children)

Research

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Article
Siblings’ Influence on the Motor Competence of Preschoolers
Children 2021, 8(3), 204; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8030204 - 08 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1040
Abstract
The number of single-child families has been rising steadily in recent years, resulting in a childhood absent of sibling relationships. Being an only child has been shown to have a negative impact on physical fitness, somatic fitness, and motor development. In this study, [...] Read more.
The number of single-child families has been rising steadily in recent years, resulting in a childhood absent of sibling relationships. Being an only child has been shown to have a negative impact on physical fitness, somatic fitness, and motor development. In this study, we aimed to understand how living with and without siblings can impact the motor competence of children. One hundred and sixty-one children (87 boys, 74 girls) from 3.0 to 6.0 years of age (34 only children, 125 siblings) and with no known motor or cognitive disability were assessed using the Motor Competence Assessment (MCA). Their standardized results on the three MCA subscales (stability, locomotor, and manipulative) and total MCA were used to group them into high, average, and low motor competence groups. Motor competence percentile distribution of the sibling and only child group condition was compared using chi-square tests. Results showed a significative and positive association between the sibling condition and the distribution between the three MC groups (chi-square = 6.29; p = 0.043), showing that children in a household with siblings, independent of their age and sex, show a clear tendency for developing better motor competence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Motor Competence in Preschool Children)
Article
The Effect of Environmental Contexts on Motor Proficiency and Social Maturity of Children: An Ecological Perspective
Children 2021, 8(2), 157; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8020157 - 19 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 685
Abstract
Physical environmental factors affect the developmental process of children. Thus, the main purpose of the present study was to investigate the two intervention models of affordances on the motor proficiency and social maturity of children. A semi-experimental research design with a pretest–posttest design [...] Read more.
Physical environmental factors affect the developmental process of children. Thus, the main purpose of the present study was to investigate the two intervention models of affordances on the motor proficiency and social maturity of children. A semi-experimental research design with a pretest–posttest design and two groups were used, adopting the convenience method. Two groups of 15 children (aged 5.5–6.5 years) engaged in 12 weeks of nature school or kindergarten. The Bruininks–Oseretsky test of motor proficiency and the Vineland social maturity scale were used. The results of a mixed ANOVA showed that natural outdoor activity has a greater positive effect on motor proficiency and social maturity than kindergarten activities. Intra-group analysis also showed that both groups had progressed, but the nature school group made more progress. These results were discussed and interpreted based on the types of environmental affordances, Gibson’s theory, Bronfenbrenner theory, and child-friendly environment. It was suggested that natural environmental stimulations play a critical role in optimal child motor and social development during the early stages of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Motor Competence in Preschool Children)
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Article
Differences on Motor Competence in 4-Year-Old Boys and Girls Regarding the Quarter of Birth: Is There a Relative Age Effect?
Children 2021, 8(2), 141; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8020141 - 13 Feb 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 767
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate the differences on motor competence between boys and girls aged 4 years old and investigate the existence of Relative Age Effect on their motor competence. In total, 132 preschool children were evaluated, of whom 60 [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the differences on motor competence between boys and girls aged 4 years old and investigate the existence of Relative Age Effect on their motor competence. In total, 132 preschool children were evaluated, of whom 60 (45.50%) were girls and 72 (54.5%) were boys. The distribution of the participants was from quarter 1 [n = 28 (21.2%)], quarter 2 [n = 52 (39.4%)], quarter 3 [n = 24 (18.2%)], and quarter 4 [(n = 28 (21.2%)], respectively. The Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 (MABC-2) was used to collect the data. The data show the main effects on quarter of birth factor in manual dexterity (MD; p < 0.001), in aiming and catching (A&C; p < 0.001), in balance (Bal; p < 0.001) and in total test score (TTS; p < 0.001). There are also statistical differences on gender factor in MD (p < 0.001) and in TTS (p = 0.031). A significant effect was also found in the interaction between two factors (gender and quarter of birth) in MD (p < 0.001), A&C (p < 0.001), and Bal (p < 0.001). There are differences in all the variables studied according to the quarter of birth and only in manual dexterity and in the total score if compared according to gender (the scores are higher in girls). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Motor Competence in Preschool Children)
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Article
The Role of Preschool Hours in Achieving Physical Activity Recommendations for Preschoolers
Children 2021, 8(2), 82; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8020082 - 25 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 761
Abstract
Research on physical activity (PA) in different educational settings could elucidate which interventions promote a healthy school lifestyle in early childhood education (ECE). The aims of this study were: (a) to analyse the PA levels of preschoolers during school hours, as well as [...] Read more.
Research on physical activity (PA) in different educational settings could elucidate which interventions promote a healthy school lifestyle in early childhood education (ECE). The aims of this study were: (a) to analyse the PA levels of preschoolers during school hours, as well as the rate of compliance with specific recommendations on total PA (TPA) and moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA); (b) to examine the role of structured movement sessions and recess time in the MVPA levels during school hours; (c) to evaluate the sociodemographic correlates of preschoolers and the school environment on MVPA behaviour during school hours. PA was evaluated with Actigraph accelerometers. Our main findings were that: (a) preschoolers engaged in very little TPA and MVPA during school hours; (b) children showed significantly higher MVPA levels on days with versus without structured movement sessions, and the contribution of the structured sessions to MVPA was significantly higher than that of recess time; (c) gender and age were associated with PA, and a high density of young children on the playground was associated with high levels of vigorous PA, whereas in the classroom, high density was associated with more sedentary behaviour. Structured PA could reduce the gap in achieving international recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Motor Competence in Preschool Children)
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Article
Connection between Social Relationships and Basic Motor Competencies in Early Childhood
Children 2021, 8(1), 53; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8010053 - 17 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 773
Abstract
In preschool, children build new contacts and social relationships with other people. They learn to cooperate with their peers and communicate in groups. In addition to social relationships, basic motor competencies (in German: Motorische Basiskompetenzen (MOBAK)) are also seen as a central developmental [...] Read more.
In preschool, children build new contacts and social relationships with other people. They learn to cooperate with their peers and communicate in groups. In addition to social relationships, basic motor competencies (in German: Motorische Basiskompetenzen (MOBAK)) are also seen as a central developmental goal in early childhood and are necessary for participation in the culture of sports and movement. The aim of this paper is to describe the connection between social relationships and basic motor competencies in early childhood. In this present study, the motor competencies of N = 548 preschool children (51% girls, M = 68.0 months, SD = 6.8) were tested in the competence areas of self-movement and object movement. The children’s perceived social relationships were recorded from teacher and parent perspectives. The results clearly show a connection between social relationships and motor competencies in early childhood, with a stronger connection observed in boys. This finding is relevant both from a developmental and a health-oriented perspective, as it points to a link between physical and mental health, as well as technical and interdisciplinary competencies, in early childhood. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Motor Competence in Preschool Children)
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Article
Motor Development among Spanish Preschool Children
Children 2021, 8(1), 41; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/children8010041 - 12 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1237
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to analyze motor development of Spanish preschoolers, taking into account sex and age, being an only child, prematurity, and the practice of extracurricular activities. The sample was composed of 300 preschoolers (132 girls, 168 boys) ages 3 [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to analyze motor development of Spanish preschoolers, taking into account sex and age, being an only child, prematurity, and the practice of extracurricular activities. The sample was composed of 300 preschoolers (132 girls, 168 boys) ages 3 to 6 years. Preschoolers were tested on 12 fundamental motor skills (locomotor and object control) through the Test of Gross Motor Development—Second Edition (TGMD-2). Nonparametric analysis indicated that there are differences between girls and boys in locomotor and object control skills in the age range of 3–4 years. However, boys and girls scored similarly at the age of 5 years in locomotor development. There were not differences between only children and those who are not only children. Similarly, prematurity was not associated with locomotor and object control development. Nevertheless, those preschoolers who practice extracurricular physical activities scored significantly higher in comparison with those children do not. Further research is needed to shed light on the differences between boys and girls in object control. It may be explained by the types of extracurricular activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Motor Competence in Preschool Children)
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