Kindergarten children's initial experiences in physical education

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Virginia Tech


This study was conducted to describe the initial physical education experiences of two less skilled (LS) and two more skilled (MS) kindergarten children, to gain insights into children’s feelings about those experiences, and to suggest their educational significance. Data for this study were triangulated through the use of observations, fieldnotes, and interviews. A narrative description of the setting, program, and teacher were written along with descriptive profiles of each the four children’s experiences in physical education.

The results of this study indicated that there were both similarities and differences in the experiences of LS and MS kindergarten children as they participated their initial physical education classes. LS children appeared hesitant in get involved in activity while the MS children appeared more confident in their participation. LS children appeared to learn about classroom procedures by observing their classmates while the MS children appeared to learn about procedures from the teacher or simply figured out what to do on their own. Children were similar in their feelings about participating with partners. They all reported they would rather work by themselves than with a partner. Throughout their initial experiences all four children appeared to possess a "relentless persistence for play’. Whenever physical education tasks were too easy, too difficult, or uninteresting, the children were observed to change the activities to be more play-like. The teacher’s "zone or appropriate responses’ provided children the opportunity to change some tasks to be more play-like while other tasks required a specific non-play-like structure.