The article analyzes preschool physical education curricula since 1935 and presents approaches to physical education concerning child health promotion, prevention of such diseases as scoliosis, flat-foot, etc. Preschool age is an important stage for child health, therefore, by the present time there has been developed a bulk of methods on how to prevent various health disorders in children (scoliosis, flat-foot, vision disorders, etc.) through physical education. On the other side, lack of the science-based concept of child health disorders prevention causes the situation when the majority of these methods fail to involve peculiarities of this educational process, and, consequently, it is hard to apply them, their practical usage is not systematic and has no positive impact on health. Development of pedagogy and national educational policy is known to be enforced in educational curricula. Physical education, as a rule, is a constituent part of these curricula, that is why, their estimate, especially concerning the purpose and content, enables us to identify socially-historical prerequisites of the health enhancement function of preschool physical education.
Keywords: Preschoolersphysical educationhealtheducation curricula
Preschool age is an important stage for child health; therefore, by the present time, a bulk of methods has been developed on how to prevent various health disorders in children (scoliosis, flat-foot, vision disorders, etc.) through physical education. On the other side, lack of the science-based concept of child health disorders prevention causes the situation when the majority of these methods fail to involve peculiarities of this educational process, and, consequently, it is hard to apply them, their practical usage is not systematic and has no positive impact on health
At present, critical estimate is given to numerous theoretical and practical provisions in child physical education. Within educational curricula its aims, content, methods and types of lessons are under review. To define practical mechanisms contributing to health promotion, harmonic development, increased physical and mental efficiency is argued to be necessary. All this requires new resources to be used for improvement of child physical condition. The solution to this problem is covered in many scientific researches of such authors as Voloshina (2006), Madzhukha (2001), Tikhomirova (2004), Bonkalo (2016), Tretyakova (2016), etc.
The article analyzes preschool physical education curricula since 1935 and presents approaches to physical education in regard to child health promotion, prevention of such diseases as scoliosis, flat-foot, etc.
Purpose of the Study
According to the authors’ vision, the problem of maintaining and improving child health through physical education is to be considered in the unity of logical and historical approaches. The principle of historicism as a dialectical principle will make it possible to research peculiarities of this process in the present and future after analyzing child health improvement through physical education in the past. Development of pedagogy and national educational policy is known to be enforced in educational curricula. Physical education, as a rule, is a constituent part of these curricula; therefore, their estimate, especially concerning the purpose and content, enables one to identify socially-historical prerequisites of the problem under study.
From the historical approach, physical education in learning institutions of Russia after the October Revolution has gone through several stages, which are substantially determined by political and socially-economic changes.
Studying and analysis of pre-war period
Thus, according to Karpushko (1992), after the 1917 negation of bourgeois ideology and, along with it, negation of outstanding practical experience of national and foreign pedagogy, physical education became an element of the general system of communist education. Practical application of youth training for work and armed defence of the socialist fatherland substituted the value of its health improvement and development.
The first draft of a kindergarten curriculum with physical education as its section was issued in 1932. The content of that section aimed to establish child walk and running skills, hygiene and cultural abilities. On the whole, the number of developed skills and abilities was not large and age peculiarities were hardly accounted for. The tasks on child health maintenance were not under consideration. In all further curricula of pre-war time, the changes in their content were brought about by science and practice development in physical education. Thus, in 1938, “Guidance for Kindergarten Educator” already focused on an individual approach to children, child age traits, and also revealed the main forms of preschool physical education which are also found in modern curricula (lessons, morning exercises, active physical games).
Studying and analysis after the war period
After the war, despite the challenges faced, when reconstructing the national household, the lack of human resources and facilities, the country witnessed “physical education and sport movement” created to keep the man’s health by means of physical culture and effective scientific innovations in this sphere.
Physical education was introduced in comprehensive secondary schools, secondary special and higher educational institutions as a mandatory subject. This period is notable for an increasing number of scientific researches on physical education and sports, the majority of which were designed to reveal its natural science and didactic fundamentals. All that results in the leading specialists beginning to think anew about the ways, used in the Soviet physical education.
In 1945, a new “Guidance for Kindergarten Educator” was issued. Its distinguishing feature was that it specified anatomy-physiological and psychology-pedagogical child traits at each age (early childhood, middle childhood, early adolescence) and took them into account in the process of physical education. It must be specified that previous subdivisions of section “Physical Education” now included cold weather training that implied strong health improvement through child physical education. Another crucial change in “Guidance for Kindergarten Educator” concerning section “Physical Education” occurred in 1953 with a new subdivision “Methodical Guidance”, setting forth the method of delivering various forms of physical education.
In the late 1950s – early 1960s, under a new state policy (complete victory of socialism in the USSR, outset of cold war, struggle for peace, etc.), there was an active development in all spheres of social life including physical education. The shift in political priorities in the country led to certain changes, particularly, to specifying sports. As a result, the priority was given to development of mass physical education movement, increase of proficiency in sports and soviet sportsmen' world championship achievements in the main kinds of sports. Peculiarities of this social requirement could not but determine the content of preschool physical education curricula.
In 1962, “Education Curriculum in the Kindergarten” was approved which was later republished nine times with no crucial changes. The main disadvantage of this curriculum under the current issue is that the focus was made on motor skills and abilities depreciating influence of physical education on health improvement. It can be partially explained by the fact that the main fundamental researches of that time attempted to explore the laws of teaching preschoolers motor skills and develop their physical capacity.
A “Model Kindergarten Education Curriculum”, developed by the research institute of preschool education under the USSR Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, was published in 1984 (Vasilyeva, Romarova, Gerbova, 1984). It was also characterized by greater health promotion orientation. In particular, the curriculum prioritizes the measures used to protect child’s nervous system and prevent fatigue and injuries. Section “Health and Physical Development Care” explains healthcare in terms of body toughening, health promotion by means of physical education and specifics of personal hygiene skills' formation. However, prevention of diseases through physical education was not included in the list of priorities for physical education. In general, the curriculum was designed for traditional provision of physical education at preschool educational institutions and did not prove to be the curriculum of a new generation.
Studying and analysis of the modern period
A paramount importance for the whole system of education was acquired by 1992 Federal Law “On Education” which outlined the fundamental principles of the national policy in education, specifically, humanistic nature of education, priority of universal values, human life and health, freedom of development of an individual. Radically changed aims of the educational system caused changes in the system itself (its structure, content, nature, etc.). Naturally enough, physical education has also been modified. In addition, recently there has been a store of great theoretical knowledge, knowledge of methods, knowledge in humanities and natural sciences. All that resulted in the increasing number of preschool physical education curricula with different specializations.
Thus, in 1995, the physical education laboratory under the research institute of preschool education devised a model kindergarten physical education curriculum. The main advantage of the curriculum is the enhancement of health promotion by means of physical education. It for the first time introduced special exercises tackling scoliosis, flat-foot, however, it did not contain any methods of their usage in education.
The year of 2012 was marked by the Federal Law “On Education in the Russian Federation” which set child health maintenance as one of the aims of preschool education. At present, preschool educational institutions are responsible for development and enforcement of the main education curricula according to the Federal State Standard.
The estimate given to the curricula by Mukhina (2016) showed that the present curricula can be divided into complex and partial ones.
Curricula for complex or overall development are aimed at promotion of child universal abilities and preparing them for school. Among them, there are such curricula as “Childhood” (2014), “Rainbow” (2014), “Springs” (2014), “From Cradle to School” (2014), etc. Partial or specialized curricula include one or several directions in child development. These involve the following curricula: “Fundamentals of Preschool Physical Education” (2014), “Curriculum on Motor Development and Health Promotion of Four- to Seven-year old Children” (2000) and others
The analysis conducted made it possible to state that during the pre-war period, physical education was no longer the aim and outcome of personal education, but it became a part of communist education. Physical education itself was narrowed down to physical training, development of physical abilities and mastering motor activity necessary for work and army service. Health promotion by means of physical education was also considered in a narrow applied aspect as an essential condition of bringing up a new generation of healthy people for the benefit of the homeland. The modified content of the preschool physical education curricula after the war was determined by science and research work in the sphere of physical education and sports, changes in political and ideological situation in the country, specifying sports into a sophisticated socially-political system. Despite the fact that training for work and army service remains the main purpose of physical education, it is already considered as the means of health promotion, though, to one’s mind, more in a declarative way rather than referring to the content. In addition, it should be noted that since the 1970s, the focus of physical education has shifted from education to health promotion. Prevention of diseases through physical education is the subject of science researches. However, it is not practically presented in the child physical education curricula.
The current stage of child physical education development at educational institutions is also determined by political, economic and socially-psychological reorganization of the society and is connected with transformation of many facets of human life activity, man consciousness, his world outlook and his attitudes towards various events in the social life. Without focusing on all the peculiarities of the modern curricula, one must note that all of them are developed according to the achievements in the pedagogical science and targeted at comprehensive and harmonic child development, basing on personal, operational, holistic and other approaches of the modern didactics. As it is in this period of preschool childhood when health, motor capacity and harmonic physical development are laid, and when child motor activity is closely connected with his mental development, the priority is given to section “Physical Education”. In spite of some difference in the content and orientation of the current curricula, all of them tackle each task of preschool physical education, that is, they contain the material aiming to form cultural hygiene skills, master “school of movements”, according to child’s age peculiarities, and develop their physical skills and suchlike. All the curricula under consideration prioritize child health promotion, healthy life style formation, but, as for the content and, furthermore, in regard to the technique the solution to this problem is not sufficiently presented.
Thus, the analysis, attempted to explore the preschool physical education curricula, shows that at all times its content and orientation have been primarily determined by the state's political and ideological background as well as by the development of the pedagogical science. Undoubtedly, society of any time will require healthy and able-bodied citizens. A further question is “for which purposes” and “for the sake of what” the society takes the charge of reproduction and transmission of physical potential of its citizens. The answer to this question determines the orientation of physical education development.
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18 December 2019
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Penkova*, I. V., Karpova, N. V., Shmeleva, S. V., & Kartashev, V. P. (2019). Health Disorders Prevention In Preschoolers By Means Of Physical Education: Historical Aspect. In I. B. Ardashkin, N. V. Martyushev, S. V. Klyagin, E. V. Barkova, A. R. Massalimova, & V. N. Syrov (Eds.), Research Paradigms Transformation in Social Sciences, vol 35. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1042-1047). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2018.02.122