EFFECT OF SCHOOL TYPE AND FAMILY INCOME ON MOTOR COMPETENCE CHANGES IN PRE-SCHOOL CHILDREN: A REPEATED CROSS SECTIONAL STUDY

EFEITO DO TIPO DE ESCOLA E RENDA FAMILIAR NAS MUDANÇAS DA COMPETÊNCIA MOTORA EM CRIANÇAS PRÉ-ESCOLARES: UM ESTUDO TRANSVERSAL REPETIDO

ABSTRACT

Motor competence (MC) is an attribute associated with positive health behaviors; contextual factors, seems to play a important role for MC of children. The purpose of this study was to compare the MC of preschool children in two different years and to identify the effect of contextual factors (school type and family income). Two representative samples of children (3 to 5 years old) from Recife were assessed in two time periods: 2010 (n= 282 children, 151 boys) and 2012 (n=270 children, 148 boys). MC was assessed using the Test of Gross Motor Development - 2. Data analysis used the Anova Two-Way and the Ancova tests adjusted by type of school (public and private) and family income, a p <0.05 was used. Locomotor skills, object control and overall motor quotient were superior for the children analyzed in 2010. Furthermore, the school type and income increased the effect size in the differences in object control skills and the general motor quotient. We can conclude that there was a decrease in MC of the preschool population after two years and that the contextual variables type of school and family income are important for the development of MC.

Keywords:
Childhood; Psychomotor Performance; Health

RESUMO

A competência motora (CM) é um atributo associado a comportamentos positivos de saúde; fatores contextuais, parecem desempenhar um papel importante para CM de crianças. O objetivo deste estudo foi comparar a CM de pré-escolares em dois diferentes anos e identificar o efeito de fatores contextuais (tipo de escola e renda). Duas amostras representativas de crianças (3 a 5 anos) da cidade do Recife foram avaliadas em dois momentos: no ano de 2010 (282 crianças; 151 meninos) e 2012 (270 crianças; 148 meninos). A avaliação da CM foi realizada com o Test of Gross Motor Development - 2. A análise dos dados utilizou a Anova Two-Way e a Ancova ajustada por tipo de escola (pública e particular) e renda familiar, foi adotado um p<0.05. Foi identificada uma superioridade nas habilidades locomotoras, de controle de objetos e no quociente motor geral para as crianças analisadas em 2010 e o tipo de escola e renda aumentaram o tamanho do efeito das diferenças nas habilidades de controle de objetos e no quociente motor geral. Podemos concluir que houve uma diminuição na CM da população pré-escolar após dois anos e que as variáveis contextuais tipo de escola e renda são importantes para o desenvolvimento da CM.

Palavras-chave:
Infância; Desempenho Psicomotor; Saúde

Introduction

Motor competence (MC) is a general term that refers to proficiency or performance in skills for all motor actions involving coordination and control of the human body11 Cattuzzo MT, Henrique RS, Ré AHN, Oliveira IS, Melo BM, Moura MS, Araújo RC, et al. Motor competence and health related physical fitness in youth: A systematic review. J Sci Med Sport 2016;19(2):123-129. Doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2014.12.004.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2014.12....
. Examples of activities that require MC are those involving locomotor skills (i.e. running, jumping), and object control skills (i.e. overhead throw or kicking). These skills are developed through childhood (considered the critical phase to develop MC) and play a significant role in supporting engagement in physical activity throughout life22 Lubans DR, Morgan PJ, Cliff DP, Barnett LM, Okely AD. Fundamental movement skills in children and adolescents. Sports Med 2010; 40(12):1019-1035. Doi: 10.2165/11536850-000000000-00000.
https://doi.org/10.2165/11536850-0000000...

3 Reilly JJ, Jackson DM, Montgomery C, Kelly LA, Slater C, Grant S, et al. Total energy expenditure and physical activity in young Scottish children: mixed longitudinal study. Lancet 2004;363(9404):211-212. Doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(03)15331-7
https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(03)15...

4 Gabbard C. Lifelong motor development. 5th ed. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Benjamin Cummings; 2008.
-55 Knudsen EI. Sensitive periods in the development of the brain and behavior. J Cogn Neurosci 2004;16(8):1412-1425. Doi: 10.1162/0898929042304796
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.

Previous longitudinal studies have reported positive associations between MC and higher levels of physical activity in adults66 Jaakkola T, Kalaja S, Liukkonen J, Jutila A, Virtanen P, Watt A. Relations among physical activity patterns, lifestyle activities, and fundamental movement skills for Finnish students in grade 7. Percept Mot Skills 2009;108(1):97-111. Doi: 10.2466/PMS.108.1.97-111
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; however, the literature also suggests that children are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity77 Ré AHN, Logan SW, Cattuzzo MT, Henrique RS, Tudela MC, Stodden DF. Comparison of motor competence levels on two assessments across childhood. J Sports Sci 2018;36(1):1-6. Doi: 10.1080/02640414.2016.1276294.
https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2016.12...
or adequate levels of MC88 Hardy LL, King L, Farrell L, Macniven R, Howlett S. Fundamental movement skills among Australian preschool children. J Sci Med Sport 2010;13(5):503-508. Doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2009.05.010
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2009.05....
,99 Beets MW, Bornstein D, Dowda M, Pate RR. Compliance with national guidelines for physical activity in US preschoolers: Measurement and interpretation. Pediatrics 2011;127(4):658-664. Doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-2021.
https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2010-2021...
. In some cases, studies reported declining rates in MC1010 Vandorpe B, Vandendriessche JB, Levefre J, Pion J, Vaeyens R, Matthys S, et al. The KörperkoordinationsTest für Kinder: reference values and suitability for 6-12-year-old children in Flanders. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2011;21(3):378-388. Doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2009.01067.x
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,1111 Hardy LL, Barnett L, Espinel P, Okely AD. Thirteen-year trends in child and adolescent fundamental movement skills: 1997-2010. Med Sci Sports Exer 2013;45(10):1965-1970. Doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318295a9fc.
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. Thus, identifying factors that contribute to skilled performance can promote valuable insights to improve performance and health through motor skills.

Historically, studies of motor behavior in children have focused on biological factors such as age, weight status and sex1212 Butterfield SA, Angel RM, Mason CA. Age and sex differences in object control skills by children ages 5 to 14. Percept Mot Skills 2012;114(1):261-274. Doi: 10.2466/10.11.25.PMS.114.1.261-274
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13 Oliveira DS, Oliveira IS, Cattuzzo MT. A influência do gênero e idade no desempenho das habilidades locomotoras de crianças de primeira infância. Rev Bras Educ Fis Esporte 2013;27(4):647-55. Doi: 10.1590/S1807-55092013000400012
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-1414 Iivonen KS, Saakslahti AK, Mehtala A, Villberg JJ, Tammelin TH, Kulmala JS, et al. Relationship between fundamental motor skills and physical activity in 4-year-old preschool children. Percept Mot Skills 2013;117(2):627-646. Doi: 10.2466/10.06.PMS.117x22z7
https://doi.org/10.2466/10.06.PMS.117x22...
. However, contextual factors, such as school type (public or private) and socioeconomic level, have been suggested as potential aspects that can significantly influence MC1515 Venetsanou F, Kambas A. Environmental factors affecting preschoolers' motor development. Early Child Educ J 2010;37(4):319-327. Doi: 10.1007/s10643- 009-0350-z
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-...

16 Queiroz DR, Henrique RS, Feitoza AHP, Medeiros JNS, Souza CJF, Lima TJS, et al. Competência motora de pré-escolares: Uma análise em crianças de escola pública e particular. Motricidade 2016;12(3):56-63. Doi: 10.6063/motricidade.6886
https://doi.org/10.6063/motricidade.6886...

17 Barnett LM, Lai SK, Veldman SL, Hardy LL, Cliff DP, Morgan PJ, et al. Correlates of gross motor competence in children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med 2016;46(11):1663-1688. Doi: 10.1007/s40279-016-0495-z
https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-016-0495-...
-1818 Vandendriessche JB, Vandorpe BF, Vaeyens R, Malina RM, Lefevre J, Lenoir M, et al. Variation in sport participation, fitness and motor coordination with socioeconomic status among Flemish children. Pediatr Exerc Sci 2012;24(1):113-128. Doi: 10.1123/pes.24.1.113
https://doi.org/10.1123/pes.24.1.113...
. For example, Queiroz et al.1616 Queiroz DR, Henrique RS, Feitoza AHP, Medeiros JNS, Souza CJF, Lima TJS, et al. Competência motora de pré-escolares: Uma análise em crianças de escola pública e particular. Motricidade 2016;12(3):56-63. Doi: 10.6063/motricidade.6886
https://doi.org/10.6063/motricidade.6886...
compared the MC of pre-school children from two different contexts (school type). In this study, children from private schools performed better than those from public schools. In a meta-analysis, Barnett et al.1717 Barnett LM, Lai SK, Veldman SL, Hardy LL, Cliff DP, Morgan PJ, et al. Correlates of gross motor competence in children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med 2016;46(11):1663-1688. Doi: 10.1007/s40279-016-0495-z
https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-016-0495-...
identified that higher strata of socioeconomic level was a contextual factor considered consistent when correlated with MC. In addition, Venetsanou and Kambas1515 Venetsanou F, Kambas A. Environmental factors affecting preschoolers' motor development. Early Child Educ J 2010;37(4):319-327. Doi: 10.1007/s10643- 009-0350-z
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-...
in a systematic review identified that, in pre-school children, the school type and the socioeconomic level were factors associated with MC. Our hypothesis is that MC in children exposed to similar contextual aspects would the same values within the two years of evaluations. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the effect of these two factors on the changes in MC

The purpose of this study was twofold. First, we aimed to examine the MC trend in a sample of children collected at two assessment points in 2010 and 2012. Second, we aimed to verify whether there is an effect of the school type and/or family income on MC.

Methods

Study Design, Population and Participants

This repeated cross-sectional study included a population-based sample from Recife - Brazil. The sample was from the longitudinal study “Estudo Longitudinal de Observação da Saúde e Bem-estar da Criança em Idade Pré-Escolar” (ELOS-Pre), which included 28 public (n=7) and private (n=21) schools from Recife’s administrative political regions clusters (n=6). Two representative samples of 3 to 5-year-old children from the 2010 (n= 282) and 2012 (n= 270) from the longitudinal ELOS-Pre database were used as the final sample (n=552 children, 299 boys). This study was approved by a local research ethics committee (CEP 097/10; CAAE - 0096.0.097.000-10). Written consent was obtained from legal guardians of all participants.

Study Procedures and Assessment

Motor competence was assessed using the Test of Gross Motor Development-2 -TGMD-21919 Ulrich DA. Test of gross motor development. 2nd ed. Austin: Pro-Ed; 2000.. The TGMD-2 is consistently used in research involving MC in children22 Lubans DR, Morgan PJ, Cliff DP, Barnett LM, Okely AD. Fundamental movement skills in children and adolescents. Sports Med 2010; 40(12):1019-1035. Doi: 10.2165/11536850-000000000-00000.
https://doi.org/10.2165/11536850-0000000...
, and it has adequate validity and reliability for the Brazilian population2020 Valentini NC. Validity and reliability of the TGMD-2 for Brazilian children. J Motor Behav 2012;44(4):275- 280. Doi: 10.1080/00222895.2012.700967
https://doi.org/10.1080/00222895.2012.70...
. The test evaluates 6 locomotor skills (run, gallop, hop, leap, horizontal jump, slide) and 6 object control skills (striking a stationary ball, stationary dribble, kick, catch, overhand throw, and underhand roll). The assessment can typically be completed within 20-30 minutes per child. Performance is then rated according to a process-oriented checklist1919 Ulrich DA. Test of gross motor development. 2nd ed. Austin: Pro-Ed; 2000.. Details related to test application can be observed elsewhere1919 Ulrich DA. Test of gross motor development. 2nd ed. Austin: Pro-Ed; 2000..

The TGMD-2 was administered by two trained raters. The participants were asked to perform two attempts of each motor skill. Each attempt was recorded in the sagittal plane, using a digital video camera (Cyber-Shot DSC-H20, 10.1 megapixels).

Data reduction

The participant’s video performances were analyzed in slow motion using Media Player Classic, a free download software. The motor skills were assessed based on 3 to 5 qualitative criteria (i.e. assessment criteria for running: “brief period where both feet are off the ground”), and assigned a score of 1 (one) to performances that meet the specific motor skill criteria and a score of 0 (zero) to performances that did not meet the criteria.

Videos were decoded by another two trained researchers (intra-rater reliability for locomotor skills ICC = 0.97, CI = 0.95-0.98; object control skills ICC = 0.95, CI = 0.92-0.97). Potential rate disagreements were re-evaluated, and a final score attributed. Raw scores from the 12 motor skills were converted to standard scores to adjust an individual’s motor performance based on age and gender1919 Ulrich DA. Test of gross motor development. 2nd ed. Austin: Pro-Ed; 2000.. Data analysis used standard scores of locomotor skill (ranged 0-24 points), object control (ranged 0-24 points), and the general motor quotient (equal to the sum of locomotor and objective control scores; ranged 0-48 points).

Data Analyses

Data normality was assessed through the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test and histogram analysis. To identify possible changes between years (primary objective), an ANOVA Two-Way (Year*Sex) was carried out and adjusted by covariates (ANCOVA). Socioeconomic status (family income) and school type (public or private) were used as covariates (secondary objective). The Effect Size was calculated and classified as proposed by Cohen2121 Cohen J. Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers;1988.: small effect (0.20 ≤ d <0.50), moderate effect (0.50 ≤ d <0.80) and large effect (d ≥ 0.80). All data analyses were performed through the SPSS 17.0 software at the level of significance fixed at p<0.05.

Results

Table 1 reports participants’ descriptive characteristics and inferential analysis. In 2010, 36.2% of the sample was classified as low family income, 34% as middle family income, and 29.8% as high family income. In terms of school type, 44.7% of sample was from public school and 55.3% was from private school. In 2012, 38.9% of the sample was classified as low family income, 24.4% as middle family income, and 36.7% as high family income. Regarding the school type, 55.2% of the children were from public school and 44.8% were from private school. Initial analysis indicated that there was no interaction between years of assessment (2010 and 2012) and sex. Thus, sex stratification was not included in the next analyses.

Table 1
Age, body mass index (BMI) and standard motor competence in locomotor skills, object control skills and general motor quotient (GMQ) in the years 2010 and 2012 of preschoolers. Recife-PE

Results reported significant differences in locomotor skills and object control skills according to year of evaluation. Children assessed in 2010 reported greater locomotor skills (F= 10.2 p<0.001; ES= 0.27), and object control competence (F= 2.8 p<0.04; ES= 0.14) as compared to children evaluated in 2012. Children assessed in 2010 also reported significantly greater competence in the general motor quotient (F= 8.0 p<0.001; ES= 0.24) as compared to children assessed in 2012.

Table 2 reports adjusted analyses. Results reported that differences found in the locomotor skills scores were not influenced by school type and family income. However, object control skills score (F= 7.7 p<0.001 ES= 0.24) and general motor quotient (F= 12.2 p<0.001 ES= 0.30) were influenced by school type and family income.

Table 2
Standard motor competence in locomotor skills, object control skills and general motor quotient (GMQ) adjusted by covariates (school type and family income) in the years 2010 and 2012. Recife-PE

Discussion

The purpose of this study was to compare the motor skills of preschoolers in two different years (2010 and 2012) and to verify the effect of contextual aspects (school type and family income) in children’s MC. It was expected that MC in children exposed to similar contextual aspects (same school type and family income) would the same values within the two years of evaluations. Alternatively, differences in contextual aspects (different school types and family income) would negatively influence children’s MC.

Results from this study reported that children assessed in 2010 performed better as compared to children from the 2012 evaluation. These findings demonstrated that the MC trend in children declined between the years 2010 and 2012. Scholars of motor behavior are emphatic in claiming that MC does not emerge naturally over the years. Clark2222 Clark JE. On the problem of motor skill development. J Phys Educ Recreat Dance 2007;78(5):39-44. Doi: 10.1080/07303084.200 7.10598023
https://doi.org/10.1080/07303084.200...
, states that proficiency in motor skills does not come as a "birthday gift" and the idea that maturation exclusively drives changes in the motor behavior is a misconception, and opportunities should be provided for children to practice and enhance their motor skills.

In the preschooler phase, one of the contexts for the development of MC is exposure to physical activity2323 Stodden DF, Goodway JD, Langendorfer SJ. A Developmental perspective on the role of motor skill competence in physical activity: An emergent relationship. Quest 2008;60(2):290-306. Doi: 10.1080/00336297.2008.10483582
https://doi.org/10.1080/00336297.2008.10...
. In this critical time frame, engaging in different types of physical activities provide opportunities to enhance individuals’ physical-motor elements (physical fitness and motor competence), creating a virtuous cycle of involvement (by engaging in more physical activity and enhancing motor skills elements) that can be taken through the lifespan33 Reilly JJ, Jackson DM, Montgomery C, Kelly LA, Slater C, Grant S, et al. Total energy expenditure and physical activity in young Scottish children: mixed longitudinal study. Lancet 2004;363(9404):211-212. Doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(03)15331-7
https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(03)15...
,55 Knudsen EI. Sensitive periods in the development of the brain and behavior. J Cogn Neurosci 2004;16(8):1412-1425. Doi: 10.1162/0898929042304796
https://doi.org/10.1162/0898929042304796...
,2323 Stodden DF, Goodway JD, Langendorfer SJ. A Developmental perspective on the role of motor skill competence in physical activity: An emergent relationship. Quest 2008;60(2):290-306. Doi: 10.1080/00336297.2008.10483582
https://doi.org/10.1080/00336297.2008.10...
,2424 Gallahue DL, Ozmun JC, Goodway JD. Compreendendo o desenvolvimento motor: Bebês, crianças, adolescents e adultos. AMGH Editora; 2013.. Our results suggest that children with different social economic backgrounds might have different opportunities to engage in physical activity and enhance MC. Literature has indicated that technological and cultural changes have impacted children behaviors and can be considered associated with a lack of physical activity and consequent decrease of MC77 Ré AHN, Logan SW, Cattuzzo MT, Henrique RS, Tudela MC, Stodden DF. Comparison of motor competence levels on two assessments across childhood. J Sports Sci 2018;36(1):1-6. Doi: 10.1080/02640414.2016.1276294.
https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2016.12...

8 Hardy LL, King L, Farrell L, Macniven R, Howlett S. Fundamental movement skills among Australian preschool children. J Sci Med Sport 2010;13(5):503-508. Doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2009.05.010
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2009.05....
-99 Beets MW, Bornstein D, Dowda M, Pate RR. Compliance with national guidelines for physical activity in US preschoolers: Measurement and interpretation. Pediatrics 2011;127(4):658-664. Doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-2021.
https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2010-2021...
. Finally, we could suggest that the motor skills of Recife’s preschoolers might be compromised, as the physical activity might not be a priority in public school1616 Queiroz DR, Henrique RS, Feitoza AHP, Medeiros JNS, Souza CJF, Lima TJS, et al. Competência motora de pré-escolares: Uma análise em crianças de escola pública e particular. Motricidade 2016;12(3):56-63. Doi: 10.6063/motricidade.6886
https://doi.org/10.6063/motricidade.6886...
.

Our results reported that such variables did not influence differences in locomotor skills. However, for object control skills and the general motor quotient, there were significant differences between years of evaluation. Our results are consistent with other studies, which highlighted that context in which children live during early childhood can impact the development of motor skills and engagement in physical activity1717 Barnett LM, Lai SK, Veldman SL, Hardy LL, Cliff DP, Morgan PJ, et al. Correlates of gross motor competence in children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med 2016;46(11):1663-1688. Doi: 10.1007/s40279-016-0495-z
https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-016-0495-...
,2525 Erwin HE, Woods AM, Woods MK, Castelli DM. Chapter 6: Children's environmental access in relation to motor competence, physical activity, and fitness. J Teach Phys Educ 2007;26(4):404-415. Doi: 10.1123/jtpe.26.4.404
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26 Cools W, Martelaer K, Samaey C, Andries C. Fundamental movement skill performance of preschool children in relation to family context. J Sports Sci 2011;29(7):649-660. Doi: 10.1080/02640414.2010.551540.
https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2010.55...
-2727 Barnett L, Cliff K, Morgan P, Van Beurden E. Adolescent's perception of the relationship between movement skills, physical activity and sport. Eur Phy Educ Rev 2013;19(2):271-285. Doi: 10.1177/1356336X13486061.
https://doi.org/10.1177/1356336X13486061...
. Children spend a considerable part of their time in schools and kindergartens, which, in turn, have an important role in the opportunities for movement2828 Queiroz DR, Re AHN, Henrique RS, Moura MS, Cattuzzo MT. Participation in sports practice and motor competence in preescholers. Motriz 2014;20(1):26-32. Doi: 10.1590/S1980-65742014000100004
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1980-6574201400...

29 Barbosa SC, Coledam DHC, Neto AS, Elias RGM, Oliveira AR. Ambiente escolar, comportamento sedentário e atividade física em pré-escolares. Rev Paul Pediatr 2016;34(3):301-308. Doi: 10.1016/j.rppede.2016.02.003
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rppede.2016.02...
-3030 True L, Brian A, Goodway J, Stodden D. Relationships between product-and process-oriented measures of motor competence and perceived competence. J Mot Learn Dev 2017;5(2):319-335. Doi: 10.1123/jmld.2016-0042
https://doi.org/10.1123/jmld.2016-0042...
.

A study developed by Huotari et al.3131 Huotari P, Heikinaro-Johansson P, Watt A, Jaakkola T. Fundamental movement skills in adolescents: Secular trends from 2003 to 2010 and associations with physical activity and BMI. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2018;28:1121-1129. Doi: 10.1111/sms.13028
https://doi.org/10.1111/sms.13028...
evaluated the secular trend of motor competence in adolescents. This study carried out the evaluation of locomotor skills, object control and motor coordination in two different years and in two distinct samples that represented this population (in 2003 and 2010). The results show that there was a decrease in motor coordination and object control skills (boys only) and that there were no significant differences in locomotor skills. After seven years, adolescents showed less motor competence in fundamental motor skills. Barbosa et al.2929 Barbosa SC, Coledam DHC, Neto AS, Elias RGM, Oliveira AR. Ambiente escolar, comportamento sedentário e atividade física em pré-escolares. Rev Paul Pediatr 2016;34(3):301-308. Doi: 10.1016/j.rppede.2016.02.003
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rppede.2016.02...
analyzed the physical activity and the sedentary behavior of preschoolers through accelerometry during their time in school. In this study, children spent approximately 90% of this time on sedentary behavior; on the other hand, the level of physical activity from moderate to vigorous intensity of children was associated with the infrastructure and routines of activities present in the school context. For example, the existence of internal recreation rooms and external park appeared to be a protective factor in 4-year-old children, not allowing them to have a longer period of sedentary behavior; this study also pointed out that when the school environment has a recreation room, park and playground, it increases the chances of 6-year-olds being physically active. In fact, some studies have pointed out that schools with different characteristics can provide different experiences for children. In the study by Queiroz et al.1616 Queiroz DR, Henrique RS, Feitoza AHP, Medeiros JNS, Souza CJF, Lima TJS, et al. Competência motora de pré-escolares: Uma análise em crianças de escola pública e particular. Motricidade 2016;12(3):56-63. Doi: 10.6063/motricidade.6886
https://doi.org/10.6063/motricidade.6886...
, infants enrolled in private schools in the city of Recife presented better performance in object control skills and in the motor quotient as compared to public school children. In another study, True et al.3030 True L, Brian A, Goodway J, Stodden D. Relationships between product-and process-oriented measures of motor competence and perceived competence. J Mot Learn Dev 2017;5(2):319-335. Doi: 10.1123/jmld.2016-0042
https://doi.org/10.1123/jmld.2016-0042...
identified that children attending schools with larger classrooms and a greater size of the external environment for the practice of motor skills obtained greater performance. The study by Mélo et al.3232 Mélo, EN, Barros MV, Hardman CM, Siqueira M, Wanderley Júnior R, Oliveira E. Associação entre o ambiente da escola de educação infantil e o nível de atividade física de crianças pré-escolares. Rev Bras Ativ Fis Saúde 2013;18(1):53-62. Doi: 10.12820/rbafs.v.18n1p53-62
https://doi.org/10.12820/rbafs.v.18n1p53...
analyzed the association between the number of students enrolled in school and the level of physical activity. The results showed that physical activity was not associated with contextual variables while, in the larger schools (> 100 students), the conditions allowed for a greater chance of achieving higher levels of physical activity according to the contextual variables analyzed (offering physical education classes; at least one recreation per day; presence of recreational-oriented physical activity; permission for children to bring toys to school; provision of structured physical activities). These results highlight the importance of both school structure and multiple motor experiences within a child’s daily context.

Another relevant issue for the development of motor skills is the availability to use toys, equipment, and to practice sports2727 Barnett L, Cliff K, Morgan P, Van Beurden E. Adolescent's perception of the relationship between movement skills, physical activity and sport. Eur Phy Educ Rev 2013;19(2):271-285. Doi: 10.1177/1356336X13486061.
https://doi.org/10.1177/1356336X13486061...
,2828 Queiroz DR, Re AHN, Henrique RS, Moura MS, Cattuzzo MT. Participation in sports practice and motor competence in preescholers. Motriz 2014;20(1):26-32. Doi: 10.1590/S1980-65742014000100004
https://doi.org/10.1590/S1980-6574201400...
. This context seems to be closely related to the socioeconomic level of the child, which, in turn, is a factor that contributes to the development of motor skills1717 Barnett LM, Lai SK, Veldman SL, Hardy LL, Cliff DP, Morgan PJ, et al. Correlates of gross motor competence in children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med 2016;46(11):1663-1688. Doi: 10.1007/s40279-016-0495-z
https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-016-0495-...
,3333 Goodway JD, Robinson LE, Crowe H. Gender differences in fundamental motor skill development in disadvantaged preschoolers from two geographical regions. Res Q Exerc Sport 2010;81(1):17-24. Doi: 10.5641/027013610x13352775119510
https://doi.org/10.5641/027013610x133527...
,3434 D'Hondt E, Deforche B, Bourdeaudhuij I, Lenoir M. Relationship between motor skill and body mass index in 5-to 10-year-old children. Adapt Phys Activ Q 2009;26(1):21-37. Doi: 10.1123/apaq.26.1.21
https://doi.org/10.1123/apaq.26.1.21...
. In this scenario, children with low socioeconomic status may have the disadvantage of not being exposed to environments with toys and equipment, as well as the lack of social support from parents to practice physical activities and sports3535 Yao CA, Rhodes RE. Parental correlates in child and adolescent physical activity: A meta-analysis. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2015;12(1):10. Doi: 10.1186/s12966-015-0163-y
https://doi.org/10.1186/s12966-015-0163-...
. However, children from high socioeconomic strata can access organized and systematized sports practices through other initiatives such as clubs and sports organizations2626 Cools W, Martelaer K, Samaey C, Andries C. Fundamental movement skill performance of preschool children in relation to family context. J Sports Sci 2011;29(7):649-660. Doi: 10.1080/02640414.2010.551540.
https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2010.55...
. Compared to this, children with low socioeconomic status can access projects from governmental organizations, or be even more involved in non-systematized physical activities such as "street games"1818 Vandendriessche JB, Vandorpe BF, Vaeyens R, Malina RM, Lefevre J, Lenoir M, et al. Variation in sport participation, fitness and motor coordination with socioeconomic status among Flemish children. Pediatr Exerc Sci 2012;24(1):113-128. Doi: 10.1123/pes.24.1.113
https://doi.org/10.1123/pes.24.1.113...
. This seems to reduce possible differences when compared to children from higher socioeconomic strata.

Another result to be highlighted in the present study is that the skills that involve locomotion did not suffer the same influence of the context as the object control skills. In this respect, Henrique et al.3636 Henrique RS, Ré AHN, Stodden DF, Fransen J, Campos CM, Queiroz DR, et al. Association between sports participation, motor competence and weight status: A longitudinal study. J Sci Med Sport 2016;19(10):825-829. Doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2015.12.512.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2015.12....
, when investigating longitudinally the competence of preschoolers, had already suggested that there may be a hierarchy in the development of fundamental motor skills, as well as a certain dependence on the context for motor competence in object control. Thus, the locomotor skills appear earlier in the motor repertoire, and do no require materials or specific instruction. On the other hand, the object control skills arise later and need materials and conditions (equipment, instruction) that allow their practice.

On secular trends, Malina3737 Malina RM. Secular trends in growth, maturation and physical performance: A review. Antropol Rev 2004;67(1):3-31. Doi: 10.1.1.630.7991
https://doi.org/10.1.1.630.7991...
reports that factors such as changes in body size and/or acceleration of maturation are individual biological factors that may contribute to changes in performance over time and, in turn, require follow-up for longer identification. However, other possible modifiable factors, such as lifestyle, eating habits and/or involvement in the practice of physical activity and sports, can be modified more dynamically over time and in turn generate changes in individual variables. In addition, different contextual factors have a greater stabilization tendency, but they are also subject to occasional changes. In this way, the evaluation at shorter time intervals is necessary to identify latent changes over time.

Some limitations should be considered in this study. The design adopted does not allow for the interpretation of causality of the results. However, its use is important for the verification of changes in the variables investigated with the change of the moment of observation. In addition, the absence of evaluation of the sports practice and the physical education classes may limit the generalization of our results. However, we can suggest strengths of the study, such as the assessment of the motor competence of children in early childhood, since this is the most sensitive developmental cycle period for changes in behavior. Thus, we can suggest that future studies follow the temporal motor skills in early childhood, and transition phases in the developmental cycle (from childhood to adolescence). The results found in this study make clear the need for public policies (education and health) and the awareness of professionals and family members about the need to consider the context in which the development of preschoolers is being promoted.

Conclusion

In the interval of two years, there was a decline in the motor competence of Recife preschoolers. The contextual school type and family income contributed to the differences found for object control skills and the general motor quotient, but did not affect competence in locomotor skills.

Aknowledgements:

To Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Capes) and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnológico (CNPq)

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    15 June 2020
  • Date of issue
    2020

History

  • Received
    04 Dec 2018
  • Reviewed
    03 Oct 2019
  • Accepted
    10 Dec 2019
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