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Effects of a Stimulating Spatial Environment on the Physical Activity Level in Children Attending Preschool Educational Institutions

(FIEP) Petrić, Vilko; Vujičić, Lidija
Effects of a Stimulating Spatial Environment on the Physical Activity Level in Children Attending Preschool Educational Institutions // Physical Activity, Sport, Physical Education or Performing Arts
Barcelona, Španjolska, 2019. str. 157-160 (poster, međunarodna recenzija, prosireni, znanstveni)

Effects of a Stimulating Spatial Environment on the Physical Activity Level in Children Attending Preschool Educational Institutions

Petrić, Vilko ; Vujičić, Lidija


Vrsta, podvrsta i kategorija rada
Sažeci sa skupova, prosireni, znanstveni

Physical Activity, Sport, Physical Education or Performing Arts / - , 2019, 157-160

30th FIEP World, 14th FIEP European and 2nd FIEP Catalan Congress

Mjesto i datum
Barcelona, Španjolska, 27-29.6.2019

Vrsta sudjelovanja

Vrsta recenzije
Međunarodna recenzija

Ključne riječi
Preschool Children, Spatial Environment, Physical Activity, Preschool Educational Institutions

Introduction The physical activity level is significantly linked to health and has thus become one of the greatest challenges for scientists throughout the world. Research has lately shown an extremely low physical activity level as early as preschool, implying that even at the preschool age there is a serious problem of insufficient physical activity level necessitating prevention programmes (Tomac et al., 2015). A possible way to increase the children's physical activity level can be to arrange their environment to make it movement- stimulating. A stimulating environment motivates children to move and encourages their wholesome development (Vujičić, Petrić, Pejić Papak, 2018). Contemporary research is the one emphasizing the importance of forming efficient and innovative learning environments, pointing out that the space where children spend their time should be as functional and multi-purpose as possible (Vujičić, Pejić Papak and Valenčić Zuljan, 2018). This is a challenging, safe, comfortable and socially enriched environment influencing the teaching and learning process, cognitive outcomes and children’s motivation combined with clearly set goals and emphasizing the child’s active role, a stimulating approach and effective group management. In such environments the assessment of learning outcomes is also linked to contemporary approaches and the role of the preschool teacher in shaping the environment and the learning process (Halasz and Michel, 2011). It can be said that today it is invaluably important to live the movement and integrate it in everyday learning and teaching in the institutional context. The aim of this research was to determine if and how a spatial environment stimulating movement in preschool educational institutions can affect the movement quality and children's physical activity level. Methods Two kindergartens of the City of Rijeka in Croatia were included in the research, one being experimental, the other control. In the experimental kindergarten the following spaces were arranged in a movement-stimulating way: group's living room, halls, gym and external spaces. All the spatial environments were analyse by the observation method. An interview was used to estimate their quality contribution on the children's activity level. Preschool teachers were introduced to the research details and they participated in the conduction of the programme, i.e. in the creation of a movement- stimulating spatial environment. At the parents' meeting they also informed parents about the programme and asked for their consent. The programme was conducted of March to the beginning of May 2018. Results Results show that a stimulating spatial environment in the experimental kindergarten was significantly encouraging for children's movement compared to the control kindergarten. All experimental kindergarten rooms show differences in the spatial – material environment, and their functionality and purposefulness for the increase of children's physical activity is clearly visible. Photograph 1: the experimental kindergarten hall In the interview preschool teachers confirmed the theoretical postulates that the newly arranged space, and especially the created activity motor centre, enabled children to perform the most natural forms of movement and their perfection. What children quickly master gets easily boring to them, but on the other hand, what they cannot achieve because it overcomes their abilities is not joyful. It is important to balance and consider each individual child. They should be shown certain movements so that they could attain experience in the right way, but in most cases children should be left to offer their own solutions to problems. A preschool teacher is here to guide children toward solutions, while the environment should be built to suit children, not adults. The kindergarten should be a place where children live. Discussion and Conclusion Research has shown that a key to children's learning can be found in a stimulating environment which should be dynamic, stimulate the children's potentials, but emerge from children's interests for handling various materials and the interaction with other children and adults (Sindik, 2008). Children of an early age start developing their potentials through the trial and error method, and it is therefore very important for the preschool teacher to plan various surmountable problems and ways of presenting them to the child with the aim to stimulate children's physical development. Or, as Miljak (2015) put sit, the environment has to be organised and structured in activity centres, equipped with materials to explore and play with, while activities should develop friendship among participants and be stronger, more powerful and alluring than the preschool teacher's words! A stimulating spatial environment in preschool educational institutions sets the movement as one of the most significant bases of the integrated curriculum and ensures children’s everyday physical activity. It comprises the children’s wholesome development and respects their initiative, individuality and interests so that they can decide how to participate alone. References Halasz, G. & Michel, A. (2011). Key competences in Europe: interpretation, policy formulation and implementation. European Journal of Education, 46, 289–306. Miljak, A. (2015). Razvojni kurikulum ranog odgoja. Model izvor II. Zagreb: Mali profesor Sindik, J. (2008). Poticajno okruženje i osobni prostor djece u dječjem vrtiću. Metodički obzori, 3(5), 143-154. Tomac, Z., Vidranski, T., i Ciglar, J. (2015). Tjelesna aktivnost djece tijekom redovnog boravka u predškolskoj ustanovi. Medica Jadertina, 45(3-4), 97-104 Vujičić, L., Petrić, V., i Pejić Papak, P. (2018). Evaluation of the kinesiological workshop programme for increase level of physical activity of children, pupils and parents. Acta Kinesiologica, 12(2), 29-35. Vujičić, L., Pejić Papak, P. I Valenčić Zuljan, M. (2018). Okruženje za učenje i kultura ustanove. Učiteljski fakultet Sveučilišta u Rijeci.

Izvorni jezik

Znanstvena područja
Pedagogija, Interdisciplinarne društvene znanosti


Učiteljski fakultet, Rijeka