Fundamental motor skills in the first year of school: Associations with prematurity and disability

Viviene Anne Temple, Danielle Guerra, Lizette Larocque, Jeff R. Crane, Erin Sloan, Lynneth Stuart-Hill


Given the importance of fundamental motor skill proficiency for children’s participation in games, sports, and physical
activity; our aim was to concurrently examine the fundamental motor skill proficiency of children living with
a disability, children born prematurely, and children born full-term without a disability in their first year of school
(kindergarten). Participants were 260 children (mean age = 5y9m; boys = 52%); 33 were born prematurely and
12 children lived with a disability. Motor skills were assessed during physical education using the Test of Gross
Motor Development-2, and parent reports were used to indicate disability and prematurity status. The motor skill
proficiency of all children was quite low; with mean percentile ranks ranging between <1st and 16th percentile for
locomotor skills and the 1st and 16th percentile for object control skills. An analysis of variance showed a significant
overall effect and a main effect for disability on the gross motor quotient; but there was no main effect for prematurity,
nor interaction between prematurity and disability. The vast majority of the children in this study would benefit
from a concentrated effort to enhance motor skills; and this was especially true for children with disabilities.

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