Hua J, Duan T, Gu G, et al. Effects of home and education environments on children’s motor performance in China. Dev Med Child Neurol. 2016.
This article evaluated the effects of motor performance of children in China while taking different environmental and social factors into consideration. The evaluators used the Movement Assessment Battery for Children, 2nd addition (MABC-2) to evaluate motor performance. A cross sectional, observation method was used to collect data on the child’s environment and social surroundings. 4001 children ages 3-6 years old from 15 public kindergartens were able to meet all of the inclusion criteria (from an original 4416). Participants were from Suzhou, China and all had Han ethnicity. Age band one of the MABC-2 was used due to the participants being in the 3-6 years age range. The three major subsets of the MABC-2 that were evaluated were manual dexterity, catching and aiming, and balance. The scores of the three major subsets are then added together. The higher the total score, the better that the child performed. After data collection, children were grouped into 3 groups: poor performance (< or = to the 5th percentile of total test score), at risk (between the 6th and 16th percentiles of total test score), and typical performance (>16th percentile of total score).
The results of the 4001 children showed that 204 scored at or below the 5th percentile, 389 scored between the 6th and 16th percentiles, while the rest scored in the 16th percentile or above. Many correlations existed between home and preschool environments and performance on the MABC-2. Taking the home environment into consideration, children with more outside space had overall increases in total score as well as increases in balance as well as catching and aiming. Also, possession of motor toys in the home environment (musical toys, locomotor toys, toys that require manipulation etc.) increased the child’s total score as well as individual scores on the manual dexterity and balance subsets of the MABC-2. Related to the parents, a one score increase in parental rearing behaviors according to the outcome measure related to family and home dynamics completed by the parents showed an increase in all three subsets of the MABC-2. Dimensions of the family’s inside space were not associated with scores on the MABC-2. In terms of educational environment, increased overall space and furnishings resulted in increases in total score as well as an increase in the subset for catching and aiming. Increased time spent on class activities resulted in an increase in overall score as well as the subset on manual dexterity. Increases in scores of class interaction resulted in overall increases in total score as well as the subset associated with balance. Increase in space and furnishings were also a protective factor of motor performance for ‘at risk’ and ‘poor performers’ on the MABC-2. Possession of motor toys in the home environment was only protective for the ‘poor performance’ group. Previous studies have shown that children who attend private day cares and preschools exhibit better motor performance compared to public education institutions due to increased class activity in private educational institutions. This can be explained by the public schools main job of looking after and feeding the kids instead of participating in activities that could improve motor performance.