Date of Award

1995

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Andrew Taggart

Abstract

The number of pre-school programs and children attending pre-schools has been rapidly increasing in recent years. The emphasis placed on instruction in physical education and the benefits to be derived from such instruction at the pre-school level have not been directly addressed in the literature. This study examined the effects of a six week direct instruction motor development program on the quantitative and qualitative development of the fundamental motor skill of catching. The participants were four and five year old children who attended a government pre-school attached to a metropolitan primary school. Two children of high gross motor ability and two low gross motor ability children were selected based on the teacher's records of perceived gross motor ability. The intervention program consisted of three 20 minute instructional activities a week designed at developing critical elements within the skill of catching. A multiple probe design was adopted to measure the effect of the independent variable, the motor development program, on the dependent variable, the catching skill performance of the pre-primary children. Qualitative measures indicated that following intervention the subjects displayed improvements or stable results in the skill of catching whilst quantitative measures displayed inconsistency between subjects. Qualitative assessments of all subjects were more sensitive to changes in skill acquisition and indicated individual strengths and weaknesses more effectively than quantitative measures. In general, the subjects that received more instruction and practice time displayed greater improvements. Low gross motor achievers required more instruction and practice time than high achievers to improve the skill of catching. Teachers and parents must understand that unless children receive the opportunity to practice and quality instruction needed to develop fundamental motor skills at an early age their future participation in a range of physical activities may be affected. Further research needs to investigate ways in which quality programs can be instigated and maintained within schools so that all children have an equal opportunity to a quality physical education program.

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