Developing preschoolers' social skills through cross-cultural physical education intervention

Niki Tsangaridou, Evridiki Zachopoulou, Jarmo Liukkonen, Arto Gråstén, Marja Kokkonen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to investigate the changes in children's social skills after their participation in a physical education programme named ESPEC (‘Early Steps’ Physical Education Curriculum). The evaluators of the children's social skills were the trained educators who implemented the curriculum as well as parents of the participating children. This study was conducted in three European countries and was part of a European transnational project. The participants were 286 preschoolers from Cyprus, Greece and Italy. Twelve educators and 286 parents completed the ‘Social Behaviour Instrument’ (SBI) before and after the implementation of the ESPEC. This four months’ physical education curriculum was designed for preschool-aged children and it included 24 lesson units. The results showed an improvement in children's social skills after ESPEC implementation in all three countries. It can be concluded that the implementation of physical education activities for preschool-aged children can be a way to improve preschoolers' social skills.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1550-1565
Number of pages16
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • children's social skills
  • early childhood education
  • physical education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics


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