Children participate in a variety of fine motor activities in preschool and kindergarten, including drawing, cutting, bead threading, and writing. When children begin preschool, they are expected to be able to write a few letters, usually those in the child’s first name, and use scissors to cut in a straight line. By kindergarten, a child’s fine motor skills are expected to progress to the point where he is able to accurately write all 26 letters, the 10 number symbols, and his full name with all letters in the proper order as well as cut straight lines and simple curves. By the end of kindergarten, children are expected to be able to cut out complicated shapes or figures, tie their own shoes, and color “within the lines.”
These areas can benefit greatly from systematic instruction in motor skills, and physical education programs at school. The quality and type of environment a child is exposed to will influence the extent to which the child develops the motor skills learned in the first two stages of development. Furthermore a child's motor interests will be determined by his or her opportunities. Differences in gender also come into play in this stage.
This study has several strengths including: 1) the use of a comprehensive tool such as TGMD-2 to assess movement competency, 2) objectively tracking physical activity levels, 3) employing a large sample size, and 4) adjusting all results to eliminate a potential confounding influence from factors like patient height, weight, and demographics. Despite these strengths, there are several limitations as well including: 1) underestimation of accelerometer data with certain types of activity, like swimming and non-ambulatory activity and 2) an inability to ascertain whether there is a causal relationship between skill competency and physical activity levels. However, the results do resoundingly suggest that physical activity levels are increased when children demonstrate higher levels of movement competency. With such knowledge, schools should emphasize making physical activity possible during breaks during the day, in an effort to promote adequate skill development that may contribute to higher levels of lifelong physical activity participation.