Effectiveness of Motor Skill Interventions in Young Children: A Meta-Analysis

Friday, March 16, 2012: 8:45 AM
Room 204 (Convention Center)
S. Wood Logan, Leah E. Robinson, Alan E. Wilson and W. Amarie Lucas, Auburn University, Auburn, AL

Background/Purpose The development of fundamental movement skills (FMS) is associated with positive health-related outcomes. However, children do not develop FMS naturally through maturational processes. These skills need to be learned, practiced, and reinforced. The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of motor skill interventions in children.

Method The following databases (Academic Search Premier, PsycArticles, PsycInfo, SportDiscus, and ERIC) were searched for relevant articles and appropriate key terms were used for the search process. Pertinent journals and article reference lists were also manually searched. Inclusion Criteria for the meta-analysis were: (1) implementation of any type of motor skill intervention, (2) pre- and post- qualitative assessment of FMS, and (3) availability of means and standard deviations of motor performance.

Analysis/Results A significant positive effect of motor skill interventions on the improvement of FMS in children was found (d = .39, p < .001). Results indicate that object control (d = .41, p < .001) and locomotor skills (d = .45, p < .001) improved similarly from pre- to post- intervention. The overall effect size for control groups (i.e. free play) was not significant (d = .06; p = .33). A Pearson correlation indicated a non-significant (p = .296), negative correlation (r = -.18) between effect size of pre- to post-improvement of FMS and the duration of the intervention (in minutes).

Conclusions Motor skill interventions are effective in improving FMS in children. Early childhood education centers should implement “planned” movement programs as a strategy to promote motor skill development in children.

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