Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Sport, Leisure & Childhood Studies
Dr. Con Burns
Dr. Cian O'Neill
Dr. Edward Coughlan
Background: Fundamental movement skills (FMS) are basic observable patterns of movement such as running and jumping. FMS facilitate participation in physical activity and sport. The ability to perform FMS correctly (i.e. FMS proficiency) is associated with numerous health benefits and is important for the holistic development of children. FMS proficiency among primary school children worldwide is low. Thus, interventions aimed at improving FMS levels among children are warranted. Therefore, this thesis aimed to assess the FMS proficiency among a cohort of Irish primary school children and examine the effectiveness of a physical activity (PA) (Year 1) and a multicomponent FMS (Year 2) intervention on children’s FMS levels.
Methods: FMS proficiency was assessed using the Test of Gross Motor Development-2 (TGMD-2), across academic year 2014/2015 (Year 1) and academic year 2015/2016 (Year 2). Participants were children from three primary schools (two intervention, one control) in south Ireland. In Year 1 (N=187), intervention (n=96) and control (n=91) groups were children from senior infant and fourth classes. In Year 2 (N=357), intervention (n=195) and control (n=162) groups were senior infant, 1st, 4th and 5th class children. At baseline Year 1, an analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to assess age and sex related differences in FMS proficiency among all participating children (N=203). Following both the PA- and FMS-intervention, repeated measures ANOVAs were conducted to investigate the effectiveness of each intervention. Only participants with complete data sets at baseline and post-intervention testing were included in the analyses.
Results: FMS levels among Irish primary school children are similar to children worldwide, with age and sex differences evident. Older children scored significantly higher than younger children in both locomotor (p
Conclusion: FMS levels among primary school children in Ireland, and worldwide, are less than satisfactory. While a PA-based intervention improved locomotor proficiency, it was not more effective at improving children’s FMS levels than the Irish PE curriculum only. However, a multicomponent FMS-based intervention significantly improved locomotor, object-control and overall FMS proficiency among primary school children (large effect sizes for all). It is suggested that multicomponent FMS-based interventions should be implemented across primary schools in Ireland to improve FMS proficiency level, as greater proficiency is related to greater PA participation and numerous health benefits.
Bolger, Lisa, "The Effectiveness of School-Based Interventions on the Fundamental Movement Skill Proficiency Among a Cohort of Irish Primary School Children" (2018). PhDs [online].
Available at: https://sword.cit.ie/humdiss/3
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