Demographic Characteristics Related to Motor Skills in Children Aged 5-7 Years Old

You Fu, Ryan D. Burns


Background: Motor skill is important to young children’s overall well-being. However, there has been a paucity of work examining the demographic characteristics on young children’ motor skill. Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in motor skills across socio-economic status (SES) and grade levels in elementary school children. Method: Participants were 651 kindergarten to 2nd grade children (mean age = 6.2 ± 0.9 years; 305 girls, 346 boys) recruited from two low SES schools and another two high SES schools. Selected motor skill items were measured using the Test for Gross Motor Development-3rd Edition (TGMD-3) instrument. Data were collected once at each school during physical education class and recess period. A 4 × 3 × 2 × 2 Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) test was employed to examine the differences among grade, SES, ethnicity, and sex on TGMD-3 scores. Results: There were significant main effects for grade (Wilks’ lambda = 0.34, F (2, 1274) = 229.6, p < 0.001) and SES (Wilks’ lambda = 0.70, F (2, 637) = 136.3, p < 0.001). Follow-up tests revealed statistically significant differences between grades on locomotor, object control and overall TGMD-3, with the 2nd graders displaying highest mean scores, followed by 1st graders and kindergarteners. Follow-up tests suggested that high SES children displaying statistically significant higher mean scores than low SES students on all motor skill variables. Conclusion: Older children demonstrated higher motor competence levels, and those with high SES displayed higher motor skill levels than lower SES children.


Motor Skills; Exercise; Child; Social Class

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