Original Research

Early childhood practitioners’ awareness of gross motor milestone acquisition and movement guidelines

Vanessa Gibson, Elna van der Merwe, Brenda A. Coetzee
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 14, No 1 | a1226 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v14i1.1226 | © 2024 Vanessa Gibson, Elna van der Merwe, Brenda A. Coetzee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 May 2022 | Published: 19 January 2024

About the author(s)

Vanessa Gibson, Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Elna van der Merwe, Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Brenda A. Coetzee, Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Early childhood development (ECD) practitioners are essential in governing foundational aspects, such as gross motor development and participation in physical movement.

Aim: This study aimed to determine ECD practitioners in Vanderbijlpark’s awareness of gross motor milestone acquisition and movement guidelines for children birth to 4 years. Associations between these ECD practitioners’ demographic aspects and their determined awareness were also explored.

Setting: This study included 50 ECD practitioners (M = 36.9 years) from nine ECD Centres (ECDCs) in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa.

Methods: A descriptive quantitative, cross-sectional design was followed. Data was collected using a self-administered questionnaire. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and associations between practitioners’ demographic aspects and their awareness of gross motor milestone acquisition and movement guidelines.

Results: Correct awareness of gross motor milestone acquisition was mainly observed for milestones acquired during the first year of life. Participants’ awareness of screen time guidelines was relatively good, while their awareness of movement and sleep guidelines was poor. Having children, as well as the age of these children, respectively, correlated significantly with practitioners’ knowledge of standing alone (p = 0.007) and jumping 2 feet (p = 0.046). Participants’ work experience or training was not significantly associated with their determined awareness.

Conclusion: The sample of ECD practitioners in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, did not have adequate awareness of gross motor milestones and recommended movement guidelines for children birth to 4 years.

Contribution: Limited awareness of gross motor milestone acquisition and movement guidelines amongst ECD practitioners’ warrants development of knowledge through ECD-related training, CPD opportunities, and short courses.


Keywords

early childhood development (ECD); ECD practitioner; ECD centre; gross motor milestones; movement guidelines

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