Research article

Impact of an outdoor loose parts intervention on Nova Scotia preschoolers' fundamental movement skills: a multi-methods randomized controlled trial

  • Received: 10 September 2021 Accepted: 15 December 2021 Published: 27 December 2021
  • Development of fundamental movement skills in early childhood supports lifelong health. The potential for outdoor play with loose parts to enhance fundamental movement skills has not been investigated. A multi-methods randomized controlled design was used to determine the efficacy of integrating outdoor loose parts play into Nova Scotia childcare centers (19 sites: 11 interventions, 8 control). Movement skills (n = 209, age 3–5 years) were assessed over a 6-month period to investigate changes in fundamental movement skills over time and between groups. Qualitative data was also collected on the educators' perceptions of outdoor loose parts play. Quantitative data (fundamental movement skills) revealed a non-intervention effect, however, educators spoke of outdoor loose parts play providing opportunities to combine/ repeat movements and take risks; supporting physical, cognitive and socio-emotional (holistic) development; and increasing awareness of children's physical development and how to support it. Our findings demonstrate value in outdoor loose parts play for the development of fundamental movement skills in childcare settings.

    Citation: Karina Branje, Daniel Stevens, Heather Hobson, Sara Kirk, Michelle Stone. Impact of an outdoor loose parts intervention on Nova Scotia preschoolers' fundamental movement skills: a multi-methods randomized controlled trial[J]. AIMS Public Health, 2022, 9(1): 194-215. doi: 10.3934/publichealth.2022015

    Related Papers:

  • Development of fundamental movement skills in early childhood supports lifelong health. The potential for outdoor play with loose parts to enhance fundamental movement skills has not been investigated. A multi-methods randomized controlled design was used to determine the efficacy of integrating outdoor loose parts play into Nova Scotia childcare centers (19 sites: 11 interventions, 8 control). Movement skills (n = 209, age 3–5 years) were assessed over a 6-month period to investigate changes in fundamental movement skills over time and between groups. Qualitative data was also collected on the educators' perceptions of outdoor loose parts play. Quantitative data (fundamental movement skills) revealed a non-intervention effect, however, educators spoke of outdoor loose parts play providing opportunities to combine/ repeat movements and take risks; supporting physical, cognitive and socio-emotional (holistic) development; and increasing awareness of children's physical development and how to support it. Our findings demonstrate value in outdoor loose parts play for the development of fundamental movement skills in childcare settings.



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    Acknowledgments



    The authors acknowledge the generous funding provided by the Lawson Foundation's Outdoor Play Strategy (GRT 2015-67) and support from the Healthy Populations Institute at Dalhousie University. The authors are grateful to all research assistants and student volunteers who worked on the project. Finally, the authors express their gratitude to all study participants, including children, early childhood educators and families who supported data collection.

    Conflict of interest



    All authors declare no conflicts of interest in this paper.

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