Two recent studies report that disadvantaged preschoolers exhibit gross motor delays on the Test of Gross Motor Development - 2. Goodway et. al. reported in the Research Quarterly for Exercise and Science that 86% of Midwestern and southwestern preschoolers were delayed in locomotor and object control skills (< 30 percentile). Boys outperformed girls in both regions. The preschoolers from the Midwest had better locomotor skills.
Woodward and Yun report in Early Child Development and Care that 41% of 138 five years old enrolled in Head Start programs scored below average on the Test of Gross Motor Development. Sixteen percent of the 138 children exhibited substantial deficiency in overall gross motor skill development. The researchers recommend that Head Start curriculum should focus on the development of gross motor skills.
Pediatric occupational and physical therapists need to educate preschool staff in disadvantaged areas of these latest studies. Perhaps run group therapy sessions in the preschool classrooms so teachers can learn new lessons to teach when the therapists are not there. All children benefit from a push in model of pediatric therapy hopefully lessening referrals in the future.
Goodway, Jacqueline D.; Robinson, Leah E.; Crowe, Heather Gender Differences in Fundamental Motor Skill Development in Disadvantaged Preschoolers From Two Geographical Regions Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, Volume 81, Number 1, March 2010 , pp. 17-24(8)
Rebecca J. Woodard;Joonkoo Yun The Performance of Fundamental Gross Motor Skills by Children Enrolled in Head Start Early Child Development and Care, Volume 169, Issue 1 2001 , pages 57 - 67