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Self-perceptions and social–emotional classroom engagement following structured physical activity among preschoolers: A feasibility study

Spyridoula Vazou  Constantine Mantis  Gayle Luze  Jacqueline S.Krogh  
【摘要】:Background: The well-rounded development of the child, including physical, cognitive, emotional, and social health, may be the most efficient route to well-being and academic success. The primary goal was to investigate the feasibility of implementing a 12-week structured program of physical activity(PA) incorporating cognitive, social, and emotional elements in preschool. Additionally, this study, using a within-subject design,examined the acute effects of a PA session on classroom engagement and changes on perceived competence and peer acceptance from the first to the last week of the program.Methods: Twenty-seven preschoolers(mean age = 4.2 years) completed the Pictorial Scale of Perceived Competence and Social Acceptance for Young Children before and after a twice-weekly PA program. Unobtrusive classroom observations were conducted for verbal, social, and affective engagement during the first and last week of the program, both following a structured PA session(experimental day) and on a day without PA(control day). Treatment fidelity was monitored to ensure that the intervention was delivered as designed.Results: The children exhibited longer periods of verbal and social engagement during classroom periods that followed PA sessions than on non-PA days. Children also expressed more positive affect following PA sessions during the last week of the PA program. Despite high baseline scores,perceptions of general competence increased meaningfully(η2= 0.15, p = 0.05), driven by increase in perceptions of cognitive competence(η2= 0.15,p = 0.06).Conclusion: This study demonstrates the feasibility of providing structured PA program to preschoolers. Moreover, these initial findings suggest that purposely designed, structured PA may help advance the social–emotional engagement and perceived competence of preschool children.

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