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Differences in balance in preschool children aged 1 and 3 years

Melita Petrič (2016) Differences in balance in preschool children aged 1 and 3 years. Diploma thesis.

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    The main part of motor development happens in the preschool period. This means that this period provides the foundation for specialised movement later in life. However, children at that age are the most susceptible to various influences from the environment, which affect motor as well as other areas of development, hence the expression comprehensive development of the child. From the teacher's perspective, comprehensive development means comprehensive planning and a challenge of determining individual effects. But comprehensive development is also part of individual areas, meaning that such interconnectedness requires prudence when generalising individual influences, determining levels, setting minimal standards etc. Different researchers found that the structure of motor abilities in preschool children is specific and quite different from that of adults. The same motor task that is used to measure coordination in adults is used to measure balance in early childhood. The selection of the right tasks is thus key. According to researchers, the main motor ability is balance because it is a precondition for any type of further movement. The thesis explores the differences in balance in preschool children. The goal was to determine the differences in the way children aged 1 and 3 years perform balance tasks. The sample involved 60 children attending the Vrhnika Kindergarten; 30 of them were aged 1 year and 30 were aged 3 years. Taking the hypotheses as guidelines, we devised five balance tasks for preschool children on the basis of relevant literature. We explored whether there are any statistically significant differences between the two groups of children performing the tasks. The data was obtained through the experiment, analysed using the SPSS statistical software, presented with tables and interpreted. The first hypothesis was connected to the difference in the ability to stay balanced while driving a push-bike between older and younger children. The hypothesis was confirmed because children aged 1 are unable to drive a push-bike. The second hypothesis, which revolved around the difference in the time of one-legged standing position, was also confirmed. Children aged 1 cannot lift a leg and hold it for even half a second, while 3-year-olds can hold one leg up for an average of 3.4 seconds. The third hypothesis was developed from a walk test on surfaces of different sizes and set at equal distances. We assumed that it would take younger children longer to walk the marked path. The hypothesis was rejected because there were no significant differences between the two age groups. As for the fourth hypothesis, it stated that the way younger children land is different. The chi-squared test was performed to find a statistically significant difference between the way younger and older children land on the floor. The final hypothesis stated that younger children are able to perform less turns while spinning than older children. The number of turns performed by the children from both groups was statistically different. The findings show that balance-measuring instruments in the preschool period cannot be uncritically transposed from one age group to another. In addition, the results from the measuring instruments that can be used in both age groups show statistically significant differences between them. The differences between preschool children aged 1 and 3 years are so dramatic that different methods of work must be followed while planning and conducting motor activities.

    Item Type: Thesis (Diploma thesis)
    Keywords: preschool child, balance, motor development
    Number of Pages: 44
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    doc. dr. Jera GregorcMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=11245129)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 3943
    Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2016 13:40
    Last Modified: 17 Oct 2016 13:40
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/3943

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