Most preschool children in Japan currently attend one of the kindergartens, nursery schools, or certified early childhood education and care centers, all of which have different childcare approaches. In a certified center for early childhood education and care, age-specific and mixed-age childcare is performed based on the circumstance. Consequently, older children may affect younger children.
In this study, we examined individual differences and development characteristics by focusing on items related to lower-extremity functions on the basis of height between four and five-year-old children (toe muscle strength, one-legged stand on a stick, standing long jump, and two-foot continuous jump) in a certified center for early childhood education. The following findings were obtained.
Individual differences were substantially greater in measures other than height, particularly for the one-legged stand on a stick. The majority of children with low motor performance in the five-year-old class corresponded to middle and low performers in the four-year-old class.
Further, excluding standing long jump, there were few children in the five-year-old class with a particularly superior performance to those in the four-year-old class.
These results evince that the absence of children with notably superior performance in the five-year-old class may affect the development of motor abilities in four-year-old children.