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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(10), 1279; doi:10.3390/ijerph14101279

Nature Elements and Fundamental Motor Skill Development Opportunities at Five Elementary School Districts in British Columbia

1
School of Exercise Science, Physical and Health Education, University of Victoria, P.O. Box 1700 STN CSC, Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2, Canada
2
School of Child & Youth Care, Human and Social Development, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2, Canada
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 July 2017 / Revised: 18 October 2017 / Accepted: 20 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
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Abstract

The majority of Canadian children are not physically active enough for healthy development. School playgrounds are a primary location to promote physical activity and motor skill practice. The benefits of children’s play in nature have also been highlighted, but few studies have evaluated children’s access and exposure to nature for play on school grounds. This study examined children’s access to nature on school grounds and the opportunities afforded by those natural elements for motor skill practice. Results: Extensive naturescapes (multiple nature elements in one setting) were not common, and natural elements were limited, ranging from 1.97 to 5.71 elements/school. The most common element was a forested area (26.5% of all natural elements identified). In comparison to built structures, the number of natural elements was low. Some elements differed between school districts and appeared to be related to local geography and terrain (hilly, rocky terrain, tidal flats, etc.). Our assessment showed that naturescape elements afforded opportunities for the development of some key fundamental motor skills (FMS), specifically, locomotor and stability skills, but opportunities to develop manipulative skills were limited. To maximize potential FMS development, physical literacy, and psycho-social benefits, additional elements or more comprehensive multi-element naturescapes and facilitation (social or environmental) are recommended. View Full-Text
Keywords: naturescape; children; school; playground; physical literacy; functional motor skills; nature naturescape; children; school; playground; physical literacy; functional motor skills; nature
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Lim, C.; Donovan, A.M.; Harper, N.J.; Naylor, P.-J. Nature Elements and Fundamental Motor Skill Development Opportunities at Five Elementary School Districts in British Columbia. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1279.

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