Fine and Gross Motor Development of Kindergarten Children Evaluated by their Teachers and Parents
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Introduction: In the early years of schooling fine and gross motor functioning is involved in overall child’s well-being influencing his/her general participation in play, social acceptance from peers, and willingness to take part in social activities in general. Moreover, recent longitudinal studies have shown that fine motor skills in kindergarten children are a predictive factor for later school achievement. The present study examined the similarity of parents and teachers ratings on kindergarteners’ motor functioning with children’s actual motor tasks performances. Method: A sample of 57 children attending the final year of kindergarten (M=65.42; SD=4.5; range=57 to 78 months) completed 8 motor tasks of the Movement Assessment Battery of Children (MABC-2; age band 3-6) and the Visual Motor Integration Test (VMI). Parents’ and teachers’ estimations of children’s motor developmental status were obtained using the Motor Skill Scale of the Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale (VABS-II). Paired-samples t-tests were used to assess parents’ and teachers’ differences in evaluating children’s fine and gross motor abilities, and Pearson’s correlation coefficient was used to investigate informants’ ability to rate kindergarteners’ motor functioning. Results: Consistent with most previous studies, our results indicated that parents estimated their children’s motor development higher than teachers in the Motor Skills Scale (t(56)=5.397, p=.0001) and in the Fine Motor Subscale (t(56)=5.139, p=.0001) of the VABS-II. Teachers’ ratings of children’s motor skills measured with VABS-II were positively correlated with fine motor tasks performances at the MABC-2 (r’s range from .28 to .54), whereas parents’ estimations of kindergarteners’ motor development were found positively correlated with children’s manual dexterity performances (r’s range from .28 to .34). Gross motor skills assessed with ball and balance tasks of the MABC-2 showed weak positive correlations both with parents’ and with teachers’ estimations of children’s motor functioning with the VABS-2. No statistically significant relationships have been found between VMI Test scores with parents’ and teachers’ estimations of children’s fine motor development. Conclusions: The results highlight that both parents’ and teachers’ estimations of children gross motor development were not associated with kindergarteners’ motor tasks performances, whereas familial and non familial caregivers’ ratings have been found to be reliable regarding children’s fine motor developmental status. Considering the fact that developmental psychology relies on data collected from multiple informants such as parents and teachers, further attention should be paid to the ability to observe and assess children’s gross motor functioning.