The effects of a school based intervention on fundamental movement skills
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Fundamental movement skills (FMS) are a growing area of interest among developmental, public health, education, sport and recreation and psychology researchers. These prerequisite motor skills allow a child to develop more advanced motor coordination skills that in turn, leads to the ability to participate in, and enjoy physically active play, sports and individual pursuits. This motor development process transpires through the interaction of a child’s perception, cognition and motor abilities allowing individuals to interact and respond to their environments. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that FMS development may have positive impacts on a child’s: physical activity behaviours, obesity, cardiovascular risk factors, bone density, self-esteem, motivation to try new activities, perceptions of own motor abilities, and academic readiness to learn. This growing body of evidence has led to an increase in school based FMS interventions delivered during curriculum time in an attempt to achieve positive outcomes. Internationally, methods vary greatly and there are limited interventions delivered throughout the optimal developmental years of five to eight. The body of work presented here is a robust evaluation of a current FMS intervention being delivered to five to eight year olds throughout primary schools in Auckland, NZ. This thesis includes a quasi-experimental study that evaluates the effectiveness of an eight week, in class, FMS intervention (Get Set Go) that includes teacher professional development, class delivery, homework for the children and integrated learning support. At baseline, four FMS (run, skip, catch, overarm throw) of 138 children aged five to eight years, were measured using a modified version of the Test of Gross Motor Development-2. All 138 children were assessed again post intervention and again at follow up, twelve weeks later. The RE:AIM public health intervention framework was applied to evaluate the intervention and permitted research translation and dissemination. This robust evaluation framework directed investigation through five domains of the intervention: Reach, Efficacy, Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance; through a variety of quantitative and qualitative measures across all levels of the socio-ecological model. Analysis through generalised linear modelling allowed all two way and three way interactions to be explored. Significant increases were observed across all four FMS and total FMS score over the assessment periods. Younger children (mean age = 5.4 years – 6.3 years) displayed greater incremental increases than children aged over (m) 7.2 years supporting developmental theories, potential to master FMS between 7-8 years. Maori/Pacific children scored significantly (p<0.001) higher for motor control skills than any other ethnicity. Boys attained greater overarm throw scores than girls when matched with their age groups. Significant differences were also observed between schools as the two decile six schools scored significantly higher than the two decile nine schools at baseline for catching, overarm throw, skipping and total scores. There were no significant differences observed at follow up between the two school deciles. The results from this research suggest that Get Set Go is an effective school based FMS intervention that not only increases, children’s FMS but also teacher’s confidence and knowledge about teaching physical education.