Dual role of scaffolding on motor-cognitive development in early childhood education


  • Patrizia Tortella Free University of Bolzano, Italy
  • Rosaria Schembri University of Enna "Kore", Italy
  • Andrea Ceciliani University of Bologna, Italy
  • Guido Francesco Fumagalli University of Verona, Italy




Motor competence, Executive functions, Kindergarten, Playground, Scaffolding, Physical activity


The link between motor and executive function (EF) development is unclear. To test whether learning difficult motor task drives EF development, we measured EF changes in 5-year-old children from 3 kindergartens in north-eastern Italy engaged in a specific motor program including a difficult motor task (walking on unstable bar). One-hundred children divided in 2 groups participated for 1 hour/week for 10 weeks: Group A was supported by a teacher and group B no. The capacity to perform the difficult task was assessed at the beginning and end of the study; the children able (Groups A1 and B1) or unable (Groups A2 and B2) to perform the task at the Pre-test were similar in the 2 groups. To assess EF, the day/night test (Gerstadt et al., 1994) was used. Dynamic balance results. Time at spring bar: Group A pre 69.2 post 29.6 - Group B pre 71.8 post 48.8. EF results. Group A1 pre 4.90 post 2.71 - Group B1 pre 3.62 post 3.54. Group A2 pre 4.64 post 1.22 - Group B2 pre 5.30 post 3.55. Conclusions. Teacher support significantly promoted improvement of motor skill; teacher’s scaffolding significantly promoted EF development in children with initial low motor competence only.


This research was supported by Comitato Olimpico Nazionale Italiano CONI-Treviso and A.S.D. Laboratorio 0246, Treviso, Italy


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How to Cite

Tortella, P., Schembri, R., Ceciliani, A., & Fumagalli, G. F. (2020). Dual role of scaffolding on motor-cognitive development in early childhood education. Journal of Human Sport and Exercise, 15(4proc), S1407-S1417. https://doi.org/10.14198/jhse.2020.15.Proc4.37

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