The University of St. Thomas


Mock, Leigh Ann

Mock, Leigh Ann

The Effect of Mothers' Cues on Preschool Children's Motor and Musical Development in a Teaching Environment
Leigh Ann Mock

This study was an examination of the implications of oral, tactile, and modeling cues given by parents and the affects on the motor and musical development of children ages 24 months to 36 months in an early childhood classroom setting. The study took place in an early childhood music class, which was offered by a non-profit neighborhood music school. The children attended class with a parent or caregiver once a week for 45 minutes. The researcher served as lead teacher of the class. The subjects of the study were six children, ages 24 months to 36 months of age: three male and three female. The families were in a middle to upper-socioeconomic class, and the majority of the parents and caregivers held college degrees.

The observational data were collected using videotaped segments of classes spanning a six-week period of time. The data were documented observations of subjects engaged in a ball-rolling activity with the lead teacher/researcher. The pedagogical goals of the activity were twofold: 1) development of the motor skills of the preschool-age child within a musical context, and 2) development of a child's sense of phrasing within a song.
Three observational judges were selected to view the videotapes of the children. Before data collection took place, the judges participated in a pilot test conducted by the researcher. The judges viewed three sessions of one child (who was not part of the study) engaged in a ball rolling activity. The judges discussed what they observed and what they would have recorded on the data sheet. The judges were able to ask questions and seek clarifications concerning the observe/record process. Following the pilot test, the judges viewed the videotapes and documented their observations on an observation form developed by the researcher.

The data collected in this study suggests that there were some discrepancies in the numbers of cues between the individual cuing categories. The category that had the largest cumulative sum of cues was tactile preparatory cuing. The cuing category closest in number to tactile preparatory cues was tactile cuing that occurred after the ball was rolled to the subjects. Verbal preparatory and modeling cues were observed with less frequency.
The data indicated that the cuing behavior of the mothers had a positive affect on the motor and musical responses of the children. These conclusions confirm findings reported in other research that investigated parental cuing in various research settings.

Thesis Supervisor
Dr. Carroll Gonzo