The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of an eight-week fundamental motor skills program on the physical and cognitive development of Grade 1 learners. The Basic Motor Ability Test was used in the evaluation of the 39 learners that formed the experimental group as well as for the 29 learners in the control group. Two additional subtests were included, namely the 400m endurance run and a dynamic balance test. After the initial testing the experimental group participated in an eight-week skills program for 30 minutes a day, four days a week. The program included stability, locomotor and manipulation activities. Hereafter a retest was done. The control group only completes the test and retest and not the skills program. The data of the variables tested were coded in computer format and statistically evaluated. In the processing of the data, the raw datum (performance) was converted to percentile norms. In order to determine if a child had improved in a certain physiological parameter percentile norms are used. The t-test was used to determine if the skills program had a positive influence on the variables tested. Two different t-test were used: the t-test for independent groups and the t-test for paired groups. The experimental research revealed that the skills program did not have a significant influence on most of the tested variables. In some instances the experimental and control groups were not on the same level at the start of the research, which made it more difficult to compare the two groups. For some variables both the experimental and control groups improved which is an indication that the improvement cannot be ascribed to the skills program alone. The following two variables, sit-and-reach and co-ordination (hand-eye) did improve notably and it may be due to the influence of the skills program. In both instances the average performance of the experimental group improved while this improvement was not evident in the control group. The cognitive variables were assessed by a questionnaire administered by each learner’s teacher after the conclusion of the skills program. Only the experimental group was involved. The questionnaire consisted of six questions comprising both categorical and open responses. The cognitive variables that were assessed were the following: 1. venturesome ness; 2. attention and concentration; 3. self esteem; 4. socialization and ability to work in a group; 5. ability to plan; and 6. ability to finish his/her given task. The results indicated that more than half of the learners improved in all the cognitive variables. Socialization and the ability to work in a group improved in most of the learners.
Thesis (DPhil (Human Movement Science))--University of Pretoria, 2005.
Campher, Jolene(University of Pretoria, 2009-11-04)
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