Children's opportunities to be physically active in preschool

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


    Children s opportunities to be physically active in preschool


    Vrije Universiteit Brussel
    ¹ Department of Movement Education and Sport Training, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy
    ² Department of Developmental and Lifespan Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Education

    Early childhood is known as a sensitive period for the development of fundamental movement skills (Gallahue & Ozmun, 1995). The development of fundamental movement skills is crucial for a child for several reasons:
    - being capable to perform daily routines like getting out of bed, brushing tooth, walk to school, etc.,
    - becoming able to be engaged in physical play activities (Bredekamp, 1992); through play preschoolers explore and experience their surroundings,
    - participating in physical activities at a very early stage in life is positively related to a child s health (Ketelhut et al., 2005; Zimmer, 2002).
    Both school and family environment of the child have been recognized as actors when it comes to proximal influences on the child s behavior (Bronfenbrenner, 2000). In this contribution we will focus on the school environment as stimulus for physical activity among preschoolers. Preliminary results of school environmental opportunities to be physically active will be presented.
    All schools in the province of Antwerp (537) were informed about the study. 100 school directors signed up and agreed to take part in this study. All participating schools completed the survey concerning the opportunities for preschoolers to be physically active during school time.
    The results provide preliminary information on children s opportunities to be physically active during: PE lessons, other moments (free play moments, morning, noon and afternoon breaks) and classroom time.
    In several schools there is a positive attitude towards the importance of a physically active lifestyle. Nevertheless there are some spearheads to be taken into account:
    Schools should engage parents, teachers and children to take the effort:
    - to decorate the walls with attractive paintings serving as target to throw and kick at.
    - paint squares and lines (traffic zones) onto the hard surfaced playground floor,
    Because of the overall decrease in green zones there is a challenge for school to offer children the experience of playing in natural mazes and on grass fields.
    Every school should create a covered play area, providing enough space for the children to play when it rains.
    Schools must be stimulated to look and act more movement inclusive in education in general and in early childhood in particular.

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    BRONFENBRENNER,U., & EVANS,G.W. (2000).Developmental Science in the 21st Century: Emerging questions, theoretical models, research designs and empirical findings. Social Development (1), 115-125.
    KETELHUT,K., MOHASSEB,I., GERICKE,A., SCHEFFLER,C., & KETELHUT,R. (2005).Verbesserung de Motorik und des kardiovasculraren Risikos durch Sport im fruhen Kindesalter. Deutsches Arzteblatt, 102(16), 1128-1136.
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    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication11th annual congress of the European College of Sport Sciece, Lausanne
    EditorsH. Hoppeler, T. Reilly, E. Tsolakidis, L. Gfeller, S. Klossner
    PublisherCologne: Sportverlag Strauss
    Number of pages1
    ISBN (Print)3-939390-35-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    EventFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet - Stockholm, Sweden
    Duration: 21 Sep 200925 Sep 2009

    Publication series

    NameBook of Abstracts


    ConferenceFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet

    Bibliographical note

    H. Hoppeler, T. Reilly, E. Tsolakidis,L. Gfeller, S. Klossner


    • preschool
    • kindergarten
    • movement skill
    • motor development
    • opportunities to be physically active


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