The purpose of this study was to grasp the actual state of amounts of physical activity and fundamental movement in free play on the playground, as well as characteristics of fundamental movement based on differences in amounts of physical activity, with 53 4-year-olds (24 boys, 29 girls) as the target.
The following points became clear:
1) In free play on the playground, there was a gender-based difference in the amount of physical activity, as boys took 2533.2±538.2 steps with an MVPA of 17.9±5.1 minutes, and girls took 1866.0±811.8 steps with an MVPA of 14.2±6.0 minutes.
2) Depending on the amount of physical activity, there was a significant difference in girls’ manipulative movements as to the number of types of fundamental movement exhibited.
3) It became clear that the content of play differed depending on the amount of physical activity, and that fundamental movement experienced differed accordingly.
4) It was confirmed that regardless of the state of physical activity, there was movement that was either not exhibited or had a low rate of exhibition.
From the above, while free play on the playground is important for the physical activity of young children, and there was no difference in the number of fundamental movements exhibited depending on the amount of physical activity, because the fundamental movement and content of play that were experienced differed, continued support based on the characteristics of young children’s physical activity is considered to be necessary.
The problem of fatigue sensation that children feel has been exhibited since 1990. Previous studies have individually reported effects of standing activity aimed to improve fatigue sensation and executive function, but there were no reports to examination on both fatigue sensation and executive function. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine effects of lesson incorporating standing activity in ordinary classrooms on fatigue sensation and executive function. The participants comprised seventy-three 2nd year junior high school students in Setagaya-ku, Tokyo. Of the 2 classes, 1 class (37 students) was the intervention class, while the other class (36 students) was the control class. Subjective symptoms of fatigue and executive function were evaluated by ‘Jikakushoshirabe’ and Stroop Task before and after lessons. The contents of standing activity incorporated in the class were devised by the teacher in charge of class. The particular class subjects that incorporated standing activity were mathematics and society (geography). The results confirmed that the ‘inhibition’ of executive function improves in intervention classes and that there is reduction in scores of subjective symptoms of fatigue. This indicates that classes that incorporate standing activity in ordinary classrooms are interventions that reduce fatigue sensation and improve executive function.
The sleep situations of Japanese children have serious appearances. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of “visualization” practice concerning children’s sleep. Children in practical group recorded their own bedtime, wake-up time, sleep problems, steps per day, and the axillary temperature during practice period, and tried to plot the “visualization” index measurement. This study comprised surveys 1 and 2. The practice period was 4 weekdays and the participants were fourth-grade children in public elementary schools in both surveys.
Survey 1 included 873 children from 8 schools in Tokyo. Of these, seven schools were practical group and one school was control group. Results of survey 1 reveal significant interactions between bedtime and wake-up time before and after practice in those with sleep problems and those without sleep problems at the practical groups. However, their effect sizes were small. Furthermore, in the results of reviewing the impressions after practice, many descriptions of “walking” and “steps” were found, so directing more attention to steps showed the possibility of effective improvement of children’s sleep situation.
On the other hand, participants in survey 2 were 798 children from 7 schools in Tokyo. Of these, two schools were practical group and 5 schools were control group. It was found that those who had sleep problems at the practical group had significantly earlier bedtime and wake-up time at survey 2 . In addition, the sleep problems of those who had them before the practice decreased significantly after the practice, and it was confirmed that the steps per day increased in both, those with and without sleep problems before practice. Besides, the results of reviewing the impressions after practice revealed many descriptions of not only “walking” and “steps,” but also those connected with “physical condition” and “change”. Taken together, the practice in survey 2, advanced the bedtime and wake-up time of those who had sleep problems and reduced the sleep problems.
From the above facts, it was concluded that the “visualization” practice concerning sleep, in which children themselves can know, feel, and think about their own body rather than acquiring knowledge about sleep, was a sustainable and effective to improve sleep situations among children.
To investigate the relationship between home play and motor ability, a questionnaire survey was conducted on the frequency of play at home with children and parents who commute to nursery schools. A factor analysis was conducted to examine the play situations at home, which helped us derive the following eight factors: “nature play,” “production play,” “highly rule-based play,” “expression and pretend play,” “play with parents,” “constructive play,” “ball play,” and “balance play.” No difference was observed in “nature play” and “ball play” based on the age in which the children were enrolled in the time. However, a difference was observed in “production play,” “highly rule-based play,” “expression and pretend play,” “play with parents,” “constructive play,” and “balance play” based on the age in which the children were enrolled children. Plays with gender differences were “nature play”, “production play”, “highly rule-based play”, “expression and pretend play”, “ball play”, and “balance play”. A positive correlation was observed between “nature play” and motor skills at the children age 3. Moreover, a significant positive correlation was validated with motor skills when “nature play,” and many other movement activities were played at a children age 3 . This suggests that the types of play involving dynamic body movement and playing in nature are quite important at a children age 3, and they point toward the possibility of gaining a personal experience that greatly influences motor skills. After the children aged 4 and 5 of the year, “expression and pretend play” and “constructive play” showed a negative correlation between physical strength and motor skills. It can be considered that children with less physical strength and motor skills were involved in play with less activity at home. These facts suggest that it is necessary to guarantee play that moves the body actively from the age of 3 years old, such as nature play at the childcare site, which is not possible at home.
This paper was subject to “Chapter 2 Human in Early Childhood (First Part)” of “Human Education” (1826) written by F. Frobel[1782-1852], extracted writing concerning “body”, and considered the modern meaning in relevance with childcare details, “Health” field. The results showed an issue that modern childcare requires reconsideration.
Of particular interest in Froebel’s writings is firstly, his emphasis on “facial expressions in childcare and upbringing” and “play with body”, and its relevance to childcare and upbringing in Japan can be indicated. It is suggested that Froebel's “body expression through facial expressions” can be seen in daily childcare at childcare centers of contemporary Japan as well. Secondly, the indications made about “educational passivity” and “nature and necessity of childcare” should be consistent and harmonious with contemporary Japanese childcare thought. The universality of Froebel's writings can be confirmed in such points as well. It can be said that intellectual education, virtue education, and beauty education, which Froebel refers to as “spiritual childcare,” are difficult issues to promote research on, even though their importance has been indicated in the current research on childcare. Thirdly, it should be noted that there are few points in common between Froebel's expectations for children’s play and the current Japanese childcare. We could say that Froebel was thinking about what children can learn through play from a different standpoint than us. It will be necessary to delve deeply into this point as an important research subject for future research in childcare science.
Generally, “Kindergarten Education Guidelines” rarely describes link with spirit in sentences about body in“Kindergarten Education Guidelines”. Frobel considers and focuses on relevance and circulation between body and spirit, which leaves a vivid impression. “Human Education” is more specific for specific sentences and more conceptual for conceptual sentences than public notices concerning childcare education. Accordingly, it strongly leaves impression that it writes a lot about where the relationship with education or children will reach as human. Frobel writes about relevance and circulation between body and spirit more deeply and selectively. It is true he writes about inner and outer sides and intention and extension
with strong comparison.