Proposal: Teaching loco-motor skills in early childhood
This proposal is aimed at children between the ages of 4-6 years (in the pre-operational period). Early childhood is the time when children begin learning fundamental motor skills, comprising of loco-motor skills and object control skills (Stodden et.al, 2008). The former set of skills involve moving the body through space: skills such as running, hopping, jumping and skipping (Haywood & Getchell, 2005, cited by Stodden et.al. 2008). The importance of teaching these skills to children at this age is paramount, as they have been proven to successfully affect the development of the brain, play a large role in the capabilities, emotions and essential social skills developed and needed during early life, and increase the capacity of favourable developmental outcomes through later stages of life (Shonkoff & Phillips (ed), 2000).
According to Piaget’s Cognitive Development Theory, children in the pre-operational stages learn by taking in information, which can add or change their prior understanding (Armstrong et.al, 2014). Applying this theory to motor skill acquisition, It is because of this method of learning that children need experiences and opportunities provided to them to learn and explore new concepts, resulting in moving from one developmental stage to the next (Armstrong et.al, 2014).
In the early years of life, children can be both prone to harm, and open to the opportunity for growth, and the development of the above skills can shape their resilience or vulnerability (Anderson et.al, 2003). According to Anderson et.al (2003), creating those developmental opportunities for children through motor skill intervention can establish a critical foundation for their academic and physical success, health and general well-being. It is important to also note that children do not develop fundamental motor skills naturally through maturation, rather they are skills that need to be learned and reinforced (Logan et.al, 2011).
Aim of this proposal
This proposal aims to teach children in early childhood loco-motor skills, in particular running, jumping and skipping. It will implement process-oriented forms of assessment, and teach using observational techniques of learning.
Overview of motor control considerations for target population
Motor skill learning is referred to as the increasing spatial and temporal accuracy of movements with practice, and is fundamental to human activity (Willingham, 1998). Adams (1987) defines a skill as something which is learned, however is distinguished from capacity and ability as an individual may have both the capacity and ability to perform a skill, however cannot perform it as it has not been learnt. Learning in children occurs in many different ways than in adults (Adams, 1987). Due to adults’ experiences and past learned skills, varied training in skills adds little to capabilities already obtained, whilst in children the effects of several different training methods (recall schema, observational learning, instruction etc.) can assist greatly in growth and learning (Adams, 1987). In addition to this, children who do not receive adequate or appropriate motor skill instructions can demonstrate developmental delays in their abilities later in life (Lubans, et.al, 2010).
Implications to this proposal include, but are not limited to:
- Incorrect or insufficient feedback for the child to accurately perform the skill, including the necessity of continual practice post intervention
- The child’s development of stability and balancing skills
- Level of motivation for the child to recognise a task and move toward a goal (including level of emotional development)
- Rate of physical growth and maturation of the child (development of kicking and crawling before the intervention for running, jumping, and skipping, and the attention span of the child)
- The limitations of the ability of the child to control fast movements as oppose to slower movements (walking, kicking)
In light of the preceding discussion, a reasonable goal (achievable in a maximum of ten sessions) would be to teach children in early childhood (pre-operational stages) the skill of running, and at a minimum the basis of jumping and skipping.
Use of theory and evidence to inform the design process
According to Thelen, there are eight subsystems involved in the production of the development of walking in the infant (Heriza, 1991). These eight subsystems (pattern generation, articular differentiation, postural control, visual flow sensitivity, tonus control, extensor strength, body constraints, and motivation) describe what is required or gained in the development of loco-motor activities (Heriza, 1991). The importance of the development of loco-motor skills in children is of paramount importance, contributing to children’s physical, cognitive and social development, and providing the foundations of an active lifestyle (Lubans et.al, 2010).
Contrastingly, Adam’s (1971) closed loop theory suggests that there are only two states of memory affecting skill acquisition, known as the memory trace and the perceptual trace (Schmidt, 1975). The memory trace is responsible for initiating movement, choosing the direction and strength of the movement, while the perceptual trace is responsible for guiding the limb to the correct location, formed by feedback of past experiences (Schmidt, 1975). With increased exposure and feedback, the perceptual trace gets stronger, and the child is more confident and able to perform the movement (Schmidt, 1975).
Schmidt’s (1975) schema theory expands Adams (1987) theory, proposing the existence of two constructs: the generalised motor program and the schema (Sherwood & Lee, 2003). According to Magill & Hall (1990), the parameters of the generalised motor program are stored in a schematic manner of the motor response schema, labelled the recall schema. The major function of the recall schema is to add response restrictions to the motor program responsible for the specific task or skill, and the likelihood of the skill being performed accurately is related to the strength of the recall schema (Magill & Hall, 1990). Central to both theories is the importance of continual increased feedback, however Adam’s (1971) theory is based on a smaller range of skills, including less rapid responses (Schmidt, 1975).
According to Logan et.al (2011), researchers use several different assessments whilst measuring pre- and post-intervention changes in loco-motor skill performance, however they are all either product-oriented, or process-oriented (Logan et.al, 2011). Product-oriented provides little information regarding how the movement was performed, and focuses on the outcome of the movement, while process-oriented evaluates movement based on the demonstration of behaviour throughout, allowing teachers to identify aspects of movement which require improvement (Logan et.al, 2011). Lubans et.al (2010) strengthen this by stating that product-oriented assessments are primarily concerned with fitness constructs such as speed and strength, while process-oriented assessments view the quality or technique of the execution of the skill.
Given the very evident importance of children correctly learning loco-motor skills, and the effect their correct acquisition has on children later in life, this intervention implements the use of process-oriented assessment, using both observational and schema theories of learning.
Feedback & motivational considerations
In keeping with the process-oriented assessment, feedback considerations in this proposal are of great importance. Feedback is required to correct and adjust movements, ensuring they are being performed correctly.
In a study performed by Valentini and Rudisill (2004) to examine the effects of motivational climate on motor-skill development, two intervention groups were exposed to either high mastery climate environments, or low autonomy climates. Results showed that the group exposed to low autonomy, and that which received the most feedback and motivation demonstrated significantly higher loco-motor skill performance, which the effects of were present even six months later, maintaining the pattern of change (Valentini & Rudisill, 2004).
Attention span of a child is much less than that of an adult, and as such, learning and performance goals need to be set accordingly, and reinforced constantly. Achievement goal theory allows children to be actively involved in their learning, and better recognise their achievements which in turn affects the quality and timing of their accomplishments (Covington, 2000).
According to The Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) (2008), fundamental motor skills are movements that have specific observable patterns. For example, the motor skill of running has the following components: arms bent at elbows and move in opposite direction of legs, contact ground with front part of foot, body leaning slightly forward, and eyes focused forward throughout the run (ACPHER, 2008). By being aware and able to observe all of the components that make up the separate skills, teachers will be able to identify performance errors and provide students with the necessary feedback for their performance to improve (ACPHER, 2008).
Overall proposal & applied considerations
Lesson plans in appendices.
Summary of intervention
This intervention will be assessing three loco-motor skills (running, jumping and skipping) in pre-school aged children.
The process-oriented approach means that the specific characteristics of the movement will be observed and in turn reflect on the child’s level of skill development (Hardy et.al, 2009). This intervention will involve the skills being performed both alone and in a game setting.
Children participating in the intervention will be those of preschool age (4-6 years), and each session will run for a maximum of 20 minutes to allow for the children to maintain interest and attention. The group sizes will be small (up to 10 children) to allow for assessors to observe closely the child’s skill level, and provide correct feedback and motivation.
The beginning of each session will be a discussion on either introducing the skill, or discussing previously learnt skills, and monitoring the children’s belief on what skill they understand they are performing, and how successful they think they are at that skill. Each session will end with a short conversation with the children about how well they think they performed, with some feedback and motivational talk from the assessors, and lastly some information regarding what will be involved in the next session, keeping the children interested and motivated to continue learning. As the sessions are kept short, they can be performed daily, or a couple of times in a week. It is important to note that they need to be conducted regularly to be able to correctly assess the child’s performance. To prevent/ work with differentiation of progress, the children will also be paired off with other children at similar stages of learning. By helping each other, they are recalling the information they already know, reinforcing the skill for themselves. This done in an observed environment allows for constant feedback both from assessors and peers, in addition to helping the child learn in different ways which will assist them.
The three skills will be assessed on their own at first, and then the child’s ability to transition from one skill to the other will be tested. Children will be tested at the beginning of the first lesson, again mid-way through the lessons, and at the last lesson. They will be given the opportunity to practice on multiple occasions, and then be tested on their performance.
The lessons are designed as simply as possible, so that there will be minimal need for resources, and the focus remains on the performance of the skill and the child’s awareness of their growing ability to perform them correctly.
Only after beginning this task was it evident how incredibly important it was to try to keep the intervention as specific as possible. What I thought was being specific, theory and evidence showed that it could have been narrowed down even more.
The amount of evidence and theory on this particular topic is very vast, and it appears as though an intervention of this sort could have been done in many different ways, depending of course on which parts of the data and information is chosen.
I do believe the reliability of my final product is high, as I attempted to keep it as simple and straightforward as possible, and use the theories and evidence most common and previously tested to rely upon.
When using this proposal, I believe it is simple as the target population is easily attainable, and is achievable on a number of different settings (indoor or outdoor), employing minimal use of equipment. The only variables in need of consideration is parental consent, and whether the child has learning difficulties.
We can write the Nursing Proposal for you and to Your exact Specifications. JUST PLACE AN ORDER and relax