Connection between Social Relationships and Basic Motor Competencies in Early Childhood

Children (Basel). 2021 Jan 17;8(1):53. doi: 10.3390/children8010053.


In preschool, children build new contacts and social relationships with other people. They learn to cooperate with their peers and communicate in groups. In addition to social relationships, basic motor competencies (in German: Motorische Basiskompetenzen (MOBAK)) are also seen as a central developmental goal in early childhood and are necessary for participation in the culture of sports and movement. The aim of this paper is to describe the connection between social relationships and basic motor competencies in early childhood. In this present study, the motor competencies of N = 548 preschool children (51% girls, M = 68.0 months, SD = 6.8) were tested in the competence areas of self-movement and object movement. The children's perceived social relationships were recorded from teacher and parent perspectives. The results clearly show a connection between social relationships and motor competencies in early childhood, with a stronger connection observed in boys. This finding is relevant both from a developmental and a health-oriented perspective, as it points to a link between physical and mental health, as well as technical and interdisciplinary competencies, in early childhood.

Keywords: fundamental movement skills; health; integration; kindergarten; physical education; preschool; sport.