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Browsing by Subject "early numeracy"

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  • Stalchenko, Natalia (2022)
    Some previous findings suggest the effectiveness of physical activity (PA) on children's cognitive outcomes. Studying preschool PA enables to understand children’s considerable part of daily PA and to examine its relation to other skills specifically within preschool context. Early numeracy (EN) refers to young children’s mathematical proficiency, including relational and counting skills, as in understanding and operating with quantities, number relation, classification, and the concept of numbers. EN skills are shown to strongly predict later mathematical competence and academic achievements. Thus, it is important to study and support the development of children’s EN skills. However, previous research has mainly focused on school-age children, while research in early ages is scarce. No previous studies have used device-based measurement of PA with an individual test of EN to understand the associations between young children’s preschool PA and EN performance. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the relationship between PA during preschool hours and EN performance in children aged 4 to 5 years. More specifically, the following research questions are addressed: 1) How are PA intensity levels during preschool hours associated with EN performance in 4- to 5-year-old children? 2) What kind of profiles regarding PA intensity levels during preschool hours and EN performance can be identified among 4- to 5-year-old children? The sample consisted of children (N = 95, Mage = 4.6) attending preschools in Helsinki, Finland. PA was measured during 5 consecutive preschool days using hip-worn accelerometers, while EN performance was assessed using Van Luit and colleagues’ (2006) Finnish Early Numeracy Test. The data is analysed using quantitative research analysis. To answer the first research question, correlation matrix is performed to reveal relation between the variables of interest. For the second research question, latent profile analysis is used to identify children’s profiles according to their PA data and EN test scores, while the differences in profiles are compared using ANOVA. The results of the correlation analysis revealed no significant correlation between PA level during preschool hours and EN scores in children of ages 4 to 5 years. Latent profile analysis identified three profiles of children with high, medium, and low PA, whereas EN performance did not significantly differ among the profiles. In conclusion, while the results show significantly different amounts of PA among children during preschool, the main finding of the current study is in line with previous research, suggesting no direct relation between preschool PA and EN performance. Further research controlling for other factors that may influence the results is needed to examine how variation in PA level is related to EN performance in preschool.