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Body schema development in 3 to 6 year old children Campbell, Sharon Weatherbee


This developmental study attempted to distinguish between the preference differentiation, sensorimotor differentiation and language differentiation of body parts by 3 to 6 year old children. The development of the body schema defined as the neurological model of the sensorimotor aspects of body parts was emphasized. Sixty-four children served as subjects in this study. There were eight boys and eight girls in each age category. These subjects were selected from a group of 3 to 6 year old children with play school experience at Sunset Recreation Centre. Four Task Series were administered; Task Series I was sensorimotor finger localization; Task Series II was sensorimotor hand-finger orientation; Task Series III was hand preference and foot preference; Task Series IV was the verbal understanding of body parts with respect to the right and left co-ordinates of the body. Four different experimental conditions that involved visual presentations and tactual-kinesthetic presentations for visual movement response and non-visual movement response were used in Task Series I and Task Series II. The data of Task Series I and II was submitted to bivariste frequency analysis and an analysis of variance. In Task Series III and Task Series IV age group percentiles for correct responses across trials were calculated. This data analyses indicated that the major development in the differentiation of body parts at 3 to 6 years of age is at the sensorimotor level of organization. This sensorimotor development reflected a reliance upon the tactual-kinesthetic sensory system. The results were discussed in terms of the applicability of the neurological term body schema to the research in developmental and educational psychology concerned with the developmental significance of body awareness in 3 to 6 year old children; the implications for the relationships reported between neurological disorders; and the considerations for the limited research in integrative processing. Future directions for physical education research in the developmental study of effective cues for motor learning were indicated.

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