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Data_Sheet_1_Association Between Preschoolers’ Specific Fine (But Not Gross) Motor Skills and Later Academic Competencies: Educational Implications.pdf (395.42 kB)
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Data_Sheet_1_Association Between Preschoolers’ Specific Fine (But Not Gross) Motor Skills and Later Academic Competencies: Educational Implications.pdf

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posted on 2020-06-05, 04:21 authored by Elena Escolano-Pérez, Maria Luisa Herrero-Nivela, José Luis Losada

Motor development is an inseparable component of cognitive development. So, to develop the mind, it is necessary to work the body. Therefore, Early Childhood Education curricula and the scientific literature emphasize the need to promote the development of motor skills during the 1st years of life. These skills are necessary for learning and subsequent academic performance. However, studies frequently offer only a partial view of these relationships. Few works have analyzed the specific relationships between different components of preschool gross and fine motor skills and subsequent performance on different academic competencies. Further, they present discrepant results. The aim of this study was to determinate which specific components of gross and fine motor skills assessed in Spanish students during the final year of Early Childhood Education (5 to 6-year-olds) were associated with different academic competencies assessed in the following academic year, when the students were in their 1st year of Primary Education. The final sample consisted of 38 Spanish students, aged 5. A mixed methods approach was used. It consisted of systematic observation to assess specific components of gross and fine motor skills when children were in the Early Childhood Education period, and selective methodology to evaluate their academic competencies (specifically in literacy and mathematics and overall), 1 year later, once in Primary Education. Multiple linear regression models were constructed using the computing language R to examine the association between motor skills and academic competencies. The results indicated that only the components of fine motor skills showed associations with academic competencies. The pattern of association varied when literacy and mathematics competencies were specifically and individually assessed and when overall academic competency was considered. The two assessed fine motor skills (Coordination and Integration) were associated with literacy competency (β = 0.344, p = 0.025; β = 0.349, p = 0.024, respectively) and overall academic competency (β = 0.267, p = 0.065; β = 0.493, p = 0.001, respectively). However, only Integration was associated with mathematics competency (β = 0.476, p = 0.002). The “Discussion” section focuses on the educational implications of these results and future research. It highlights the importance of early assessment of fine motor skills to identify students likely to present inadequate subsequent academic performance and the need to apply instruction and interventions tailored to the specific needs of each child.

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