Neuromotor development in children. Part 3: motor performance in 3- to 5-year-olds

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2013 Mar;55(3):248-56. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.12034. Epub 2012 Dec 30.


Aim: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to provide normative data (ordinal scores and timed performances) for gross and fine motor tasks in typically developing children between 3 and 5 years of age using the Zurich Neuromotor Assessment (ZNA).

Method: Typically developing children (n=101; 48 males, 53 females) between 3 and 5 years of age were enrolled from day-care centres in the greater Zurich area and tested using a modified version of the ZNA; the tests were recorded digitally on video. Intraobserver reliability was assessed on the videos of 20 children by one examiner. Interobserver reliability was assessed by two examiners. Test-retest reliability was performed on an additional 20 children. The modelling approach summarized the data with a linear age effect and an additive term for sex, while incorporating informative missing data in the normative values. Normative data for adaptive motor tasks, pure motor tasks, and static and dynamic balance were calculated with centile curves (for timed performance) and expected ordinal scores (for ordinal scales).

Results: Interobserver, intraobserver, and test-retest reliability of tasks were moderate to good. Nearly all tasks showed significant age effects, whereas sex was significant only for stringing beads and hopping on one leg.

Interpretation: These results indicate that timed performance and ordinal scales of neuromotor tasks can be reliably measured in preschool children and are characterized by developmental change and high interindividual variability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests / standards*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors