236992 Effect of Instructional Climates on Physical Activity and Classroom Behaviors in a Preschool Setting

Monday, October 31, 2011

Leah E. Robinson, PhD , Department of Kinesiology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Danielle D. Wadsworth, PhD , Department of Kinesiology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
S. Wood Logan, MS , Department of Kinesiology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Jodi Reynolds , Department of Kinesiology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Introduction. With the growing concern for childhood obesity, there is a need to create movement experiences that promote physical activity. This study compared the effects of two physical play programs, low autonomy [LA] and mastery motivational [MM] climate, on preschoolers' physical activity, instructional context, and teacher behavior.

Methods. This pretest-posttest design study used 77 preschoolers. Participants were randomly assigned to a LA (n = 38) or MM (n =39) physical play program. The 9-wk, 18-session program consisted of two, 30-min. periods (3-min. introduction, 24-min. of instruction, and 3-min. cool-down) each week that focused on gross motor development and physical activity engagement. The System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time was used to assess preschoolers' physical activity intensities, lesson context, and teacher behavior. A MANOVA examined the effect of physical play climates on SOFIT outcomes.

Results. Preschoolers in the MM program participated in more moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) compared to the LA participants (p = .002). MM participants spent 67% of the 30-minute physical play session in MVPA, compared to 56% of LA participants. The MM climate led to greater engagement in skill practice (84%; p < .001) and the teacher provided more out-of-class prompts for physical activity (58%; p < .001).

Conclusion. The findings support that the MM climate is an innovative approach that creates a positive physical activity environment that promotes preschoolers' physical activity participation.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Determine physical activity levels of preschool children from a rural environment. 2. Determine if instructional climates influence preschoolers’ physical activity participation in movement programs. 3. Determine if teacher behaviors differ between low autonomy and mastery motivational instructional climates.

Keywords: Physical Activity, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: the collection and analyses of data.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.