Title page for ETD etd-06092011-174441

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Perry, Heather Marina
URN etd-06092011-174441
Document Title Implementation of the National Curriculum for physical development in the reception year
Degree MEd
Department Educational Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Dr M Moletsane Committee Co-Chair
Dr R Ferreira Committee Co-Chair
Dr K Mohangi Supervisor
  • reception year
  • physical education
  • physical development
  • outcomes-based education
  • Harrow‟s taxonomy
  • early childhood
  • curriculum
  • Grade R
  • revised
Date 2011-04-12
Availability unrestricted

This study explored how Grade R teachers at a pre-primary school understand and implement early childhood physical development practices, based on the Revised National Curriculum Statement (RNCS) for Grade R. The research took place in the form of a case study at a private pre-primary school in Rivonia, Sandton. Data was collected by means of document analysis of the RNCS for Grade R, a focus group discussion with purposefully selected participants and observations within the school. Analysis of the data was twofold, firstly utilising taxonomic analysis based on Anita Harrow‟s (1972) taxonomy of psychomotor learning (which formed the theoretical framework for the study), and secondly by means of a thematic analysis of data.

Results and findings indicate that participants attributed significant importance to physical development in early childhood as a building block for the development of further cognitive skills and academic achievement. Participants demonstrated an in-depth and extensive comprehension of physical development pertaining to early childhood and their understanding thereof is reflected in their teaching practices offering varying opportunities and ways in which to learn. The school takes a whole-school approach to physical development by incorporating it into different contexts and enlisting the assistance of various role-players.

Emerging themesreflect concern with the impact of modern lifestyle on children's physical development, current inadequacies of physical education programmes in schools, the need for teachers to remain informed and educated in physical development and the need for further development of the physical development section of the Grade R RNCS. Participants had various concerns with the curriculum in terms of what they perceived as its non-specificity, the participative versus quality performance approach, the lack of age-appropriate norms, and perceived irregularities with other areas of the Grade R curriculum. As a result, participants seemingly relied to a lesser extent on the RNCS to inform their implementation of physical development practices, relying instead on other sources of guidance. Participants therefore felt that the physical development section of the Grade R RNCS does not provide sufficient guidance and information for newly qualified or inexperienced teachers, especially those who have limited access to resources. Subsequently, this study highlights the need for teacher training as a means of improving the status of school physical education, assistance with and dissemination of information regarding early physical development in educational psychology practice and the need for further research in early physical development and the RNCS.

2010, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Perry, HM 2008, Implementation of the National Curriculum for physical development in the reception year, MEd dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-06092011-174441/ >


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