In April 2020 researchers from the USA published the results of their study to assess whether a dance instruction (All 4 Kids programme) had a greater impact than natural development on the preschoolers’ mastery of movement skills. A total of 3,196 preschoolers were involved in the study, with 2,817 (55.3% female; 69.9% Hispanic/Latino) receiving instruction and 379 (59.8% female; 72.8% Hispanic/Latino) acting as a control group. Children receiving education and dance instruction 3 times/week for 8 weeks were assessed using the Preschool Movement Assessment to assess their motor skills both at the start and end of the study. Results showed that those preschooler’s receiving the dance instruction had a greater improvement in 12 movement skills, eg balance, hopping and crossing the midline, than natural development. (Crossing the midline is vital to the development of using both sides of the body together, such as putting on shoes and socks, writing and cutting. It promotes the coordination and communication of the left and right hemispheres of the brain.) A further analysis revealed no difference in motor skill improvement when boys were compared to girls. However, Hispanic children did not seem to improve as much as non-Hispanic children. The researchers therefore concluded that programmes focusing on fundamental movement skill development may even have the potential to correct motor skill decline in young children.
Lindsay AR et al. Preschoolers Build Fundamental Motor Skills Critical to an Active Lifestyle: The All 4 Kids Intervention Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Apr 29;17(9):E3098.