Physical Training`S Motivational And Emotional Aspect Of Preschoolers And School Children


Children’s attitude to physical training lessons largely depends on that what motivates them to act. Motives, i.e. motivators, form under the influence of the child’s living conditions and determine the orientation of his activity. The study has examined the motives of physical activity (educational, gaming, motive of health, strength, beauty, motive-praise, and motive under compulsion). An essential condition for motivating physical activity is the positive emotional background of physical activity, which is largely provided by an appropriate exercise load and availability of exercises offered to children. In its turn, children’s emotional state is greatly influenced by the attitude of a teacher to physical exercises and the form of his communication with children. The teacher should understand the main motives of the child’s behaviour and the ways of implementing them, he should know how these motives and ways correspond to the social and moral standards of his life and activity, and comprehend a wide variety of children’s emotional experiences arising in each specific situation. Only taking into account these peculiarities, the teacher can cope with the tasks of physical education that he faces. This research is devoted to the study of motives and emotions of preschool children and primary school pupils.

Keywords: Motiveemotionsphysical trainingyoung children


Soviet and Russian psychologists (Bozhovich, 2009; Leontiev, 1983; Markova, 1990; Rubinshtein, 2015) think that motives and emotions, like mental and volitional processes, form during childhood as a result of mastering the experience of previous generations and adopting moral norms and ideals.

The motive, Leontiev’s definition (1983), is an object that meets a need and that stimulates and directs the activity of a person. Motives, from his point of view, have a dual function. The first function lies in the fact that motives stimulate and direct activity, the second function is that motives add a subjective and personal meaning to activity; therefore, the purpose of activity is determined by its motive.

Motivation is very important to physical activity. The term ‘motivation’ has a broader concept than the term ‘motive’.

The word ‘motivation’ has a double meaning in modern psychology: 1) it denotes a system of factors that determine behaviour (needs, motives, goals, intentions, aspirations, etc.); 2) it characterises a process that stimulates and supports behavioural activity at a certain level.

Thus, motivation can be defined as a complex of psychological reasons that explain human behaviour, its beginning, orientation and activity. Motive, unlike motivation, belongs to the subject of behaviour, and is his essential personal characteristic, internally inducing to perform certain actions (Markova et al., 1990).

Arshavsky (1979), Sukharev (1991) and others write in their works that in the first years of his life the child has an innate motivation for physical activity, the so-called ‘kinesophilia’, which provides a natural organization of his physical activity. Kinesophilia is determined by inborn biological mechanisms and undergoes changes over a period of an individual’s life.

In early childhood, motivation determines the nature of child’s spontaneous physical activity and is a good basis for further improvement of his movement skills through purposeful pedagogical actions that encourage motivation for physical activity.

In the opinion of Baka et al. (1983), and Sukharev (1991), the main loss that humanity suffers because of having problems in the organization of children’s physical education is the absence of the considerable need for physical activity in all age periods. Kinesophilia is peculiar only to childhood. It seems incredible that one of the basic biological needs of the body, which is such essential as the needs for food, breathing, etc., does not induce to be satisfied for the greater part of conscious life.

The authors mention that almost all middle-aged and elderly people who begin doing systematic physical exercises decide to go in for spots, motivated not by instinct, but by their minds. Therefore, they ‘come back’ to physical activity ‘again’. The first period of intensive movements of early childhood (‘primary’ physical activity), stimulated by an unconscious biological need, namely kinesophilia, took place many years ago. The human mind rather than an inner need creates an incentive to continue these exercises.

Consequently, it is necessary to restore kinesophilia for the whole period of human individual development or to develop it, if we take into account the view that a human being does not have a genetically inherent need for movement. If it is possible, it can be developed primarily due to a specially organized process of physical education in childhood, especially at the earliest age.

The necessity to work purposefully on forming motivation for physical training is indicated in the works of Kravchuk (1996), Matveev (1997), Simon (2000), Sokolov (1973), Chernyshenko (1998). Using experimental data, they make conclusions that the motivation for independent physical and recreational activities of children has a positive impact on the main indicators of their physical and mental development and, what is especially important, their health and learning abilities.

It is the direct emotional attractiveness of physical exercises that is significant in physical education.

Emotions are a special class of mental processes and states that, in the form of direct-sensory experience, reflect the significance of objects and events in the outer and inner world of a person for his life activity. They regulate behaviour and activity as if internally, continuously relating their progress and intermediate results with needs and motives, thus fulfilling the function of current assessment.

Emotions, depending on their nature, have a beneficial or, conversely, destructive effect on intellectual activity, and thus determine the effectiveness of education to a great extent, and also take part in forming any creative activity of a child (Bozhovich, 1995).

The close connection of emotions with needs and motives is well marked by the formula of Rubinstein (2015), i.e. emotions are a subjective (mental) form of needs existence. It can also be said that by means of emotions the subject directly reveals the meaning of what is happening in the world, in the person himself and the meaning of his own activity.

Children’s emotions develop in activity and depend on the content and structure of this activity.

The decisive role of activity in children’ emotional development is mentioned in the works by Vilyunas (1984), Zaporozhets and Neverovich (2009), Izard (1999). The psycho-pedagogical and psychophysiological studies of the genesis of emotions in preschool childhood show the dependence of the emotional development of a child on the content and structure of children’s activities, on the nature of children’s relationships with surrounding people, on how he adopts certain social values and ideals, how he acquires moral norms and rules of conduct.

In the preschool age, profound changes in the emotional sphere of a child already occur, due to more complex types of activity both in content and in structure and character of relationships with surrounding people (Bozhovich, 2009).

Problem Statement

As the child grows up, the motivation without any special support becomes less vivid, weakens, and determines spontaneous physical activity to a lesser extent.

Research Questions

  • Training kinesophilia in preschool and primary school age.

  • Motivation of physical activity.

  • Emotional attitude to physical training lessons.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to identify the motives of physical activity and emotional attitude of preschool children and primary school pupils to physical training lessons.

Research Methods

Psychological tests by Elkonin and Venger (1988) were specially selected and taken as a basis for the method of determining the motives of physical activity and emotional attitude of preschool children to physical exercises. In the course of the study, they were modified, the age characteristics of the respondents, as well as the orientation of physical education were taken into account; the motives of learning were replaced by the motives of physical activity. Two boxes were placed before each child. The pictures of children in sport wear, performing physical exercises, were glued to one box, and the pictures of children in ordinary clothes were on the other box. The following instruction was given: "These are the children who like to do exercises, and these are the children who do not like to perform physical exercises, do not like to attend physical training lessons. Now I will say different words, and you think about who they are more suitable for, for those who like physical exercises or those who do not like physical training lessons, and put a card in that box." Then different adjectives were read (good – bad, good – evil, passive – active, sad – cheerful, strong – weak, etc.).

In addition to this technique, the children were individually interviewed. The following questions were asked:

  • -Why do you go to physical training lessons and do physical exercises?

  • Do you do physical exercises because you want to become strong, enduring and to develop yourself physically and bring up character? (motive in the sphere of physical training)

  • Or do you just enjoy physical exercises? (motive in the sphere of physical training)

  • Or do you attend physical training lessons because you want to be with your friends, to show to yourself and others what you are capable of? (motive outside the sphere of physical training).

74 preschool children (Birobidzhan, Kindergarten No. 3, 16) and 67 pupils of first forms (Birobidzhan, Schools No. 2, 7, 14) took part in the experiment.

The data was recorded in a table and analysed.


The majority of the children (27% of the children of senior groups, 43% of preschool groups, and 35% of the pupils of first forms) think that those who exercise have positive qualities (good, kind, cheerful, strong, etc.). The children who do not exercise are characterized by negative qualities (bad, evil, slow, weak, small, etc.) (35% of the children of senior groups, 42% of preschool groups, 33% of the pupils of first forms) (Table 1 ).

Table 1 -
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To prove the validity of the results obtained by means of the interview, the preschool children and junior schoolchildren were tested, and as a result the emotional attitude of each child to physical education was determined (Table 2 ).

Table 2 -
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The results of the research allow us to confirm that most of the preschool children (57% of senior and 72% of preschool groups) and junior schoolchildren (81%) like physical education very much. At the same time, it is noteworthy that while children are growing up, their emotions are changing due to a change of child’s activities and motives in general.

In our study the motives of physical activity (educational, gaming, motive of health, strength, beauty, motive-praise, and motive-under compulsion) are considered. The results of the study make it possible to conclude that in senior groups the number of the children having the prevailing motive of health, strength, and beauty predominates, and that, in turn, contributes to the development of children’s desire to become strong, dexterous and enduring.

There is also an increase of the motive of health, strength and beauty in preschool groups and a decrease in first forms. The results of the observations of the children make it possible to assume that the children of preschool groups are the oldest in the kindergarten, respectively, they aspire to be strong, hardy, brave, and able to protect the small and weak (motive of health, strength, beauty – 50%), first-form schoolchildren are the youngest at school. They have difficulties in adapting to school environment; therefore, the gaming motive is more important for them (43%) than for the preschool children. At the same time, there is a tendency towards decreasing the number of children (7% of the children of senior, 4% of preschool groups, and 2% of first-form schoolchildren) who do physical exercises under compulsion. (Table 3 ) (Vorotilkina, 2007).

Table 3 -
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Thus, children’s emotional attitude to physical training arises from their practical activity, and new emotions develop in the course of their sensory-objective activity. In order to turn motives into motivators, it is necessary for the child to acquire an appropriate emotional experience. Due to a certain organization, the socially significant activity is capable of providing the child with such emotional satisfaction that can outgrow his initial incentives.

An essential condition for motivating physical activity is the positive emotional background of physical activity, which is largely provided by an appropriate exercise load and availability of exercises offered to children. In its turn, children’s emotional state is greatly influenced by the attitude of a teacher to physical exercises and the form of his communication with children. Prompt, question, encouragement of an adult contributes not only to forming physical skills, but also educating positive characteristics of the child’s personality. A tactful assessment of the teacher strengthens the child’s confidence in his abilities and capabilities. The educator’s good contact with children contributes to their desire to understand the task and how to do the best to perform it, which increases educational effectiveness and forms the prerequisites for learning activities.

So, the motives and emotions are closely related. The emotional attitude of preschool children and younger schoolchildren to physical training contributes to forming motivation for physical activity. In the course of the study, a certain correlation is revealed between the emotional attitude of preschool children to physical training and motivation of physical activity.


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Child psychology, developmental psychology, child care, child upbringing, family psychology

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Vorotilkina, I. M., Byankina, L. V., & Bogachenko, N. G. (2018). Physical Training`S Motivational And Emotional Aspect Of Preschoolers And School Children. In S. Sheridan, & N. Veraksa (Eds.), Early Childhood Care and Education, vol 43. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 329-335). Future Academy.