Motor proficiency profile of Grade 1 learners in the North West Province of South Africa: NW-child study
This study aimed to establish a comprehensive profile of the motor proficiency of Grade 1 learners in the North West Province of South Africa, taking into account gender and racial differences and strengths and weaknesses. A stratified randomised sample of 816 Grade 1 learners (419 boys, 397 girls, mean age 6.84 years (+0.39), were assessed with the ‘Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-2 Short Form’. The highest percentage of the group was classified in the below average (n=383; 49.63%) and average (n=405; 48.16%), descriptive categories for motor proficiency with poorest mastery indicated in fine motor integration, fine motor precision and strength. Boys performed significantly better than girls (p<0.05), while significantly more White learners were classified in the average descriptive category, compared to Black learners. The motor proficiency of more than 50% of school beginners was below average while girls and Black learners experienced motor proficiency problems to a greater extent compared to boys and White learners. These shortcomings place a high percentage of school beginners at risk for developmental problems associated with inadequate motor skills and should consequently be addressed, especially during the preschool years and the initial years of the primary school phase.
Key words: Motor proficiency; School beginner; Gender; Race; Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency-2 Short Form.