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Open access

Gregorc Jera and Maja Meško

Abstract

Introduction. The “game-movement-development” (GMD) approach was conceived in the light of contemporary scientific knowledge in the field of kinesiology, neuro-education, pedagogy, and psychology related to the pre-school period. The approach has been implemented for over 15 years in a selected kindergarten. The aim of the study was to examine the feasibility of applying the new GMD approach in different kindergartens depending on the children’s age and according to selected quality indicators.

Material and methods. We employed an experimental pedagogical exploratory method on a sample of 30 preschool teacher assistants who were employed in 30 kindergartens located in Slovenia. The sample also included a group of 512 children, who were divided into two subgroups: 318 (62%) of them were from an older age group (3-6 years old) and 194 (38%) of them were from a younger age group (1-3 years old). All the children were involved in a project with the same theme. The educators implemented it according to the principles of the approach presented in the article. Three types of variables were used to determine the effectiveness, advantages, and weaknesses of the approach.

Results. A detailed analysis of the projects, semi-structured interviews, and surveys that were completed showed that both age groups adapted quickly to the new approach, especially the younger group of children. Different methods (e.g. that of using educational games), which involve the educator’s participation in the game as a team-mate, made it possible for all of the children to be rapidly integrated into the game and to choose how to move within its rules. However, the educators surveyed believed that they lacked knowledge concerning child development and that they needed more time to understand the new approach, more systematic assistance, and immediate feedback.

Conclusions. The research showed that the approach was effective in its essence for all age groups of children. The disadvantages of the approach are primarily related to the need to amend teachers’ subjective theories of learning, which requires a longer time.

Open access

Maja Meško, Mateja Videmšek, Damir Karpljuk, Zlatka Štok and Iztok Podbregar

Occupational stress among slovene managers with respect to their participation in recreational sport activities

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the level of stress that managers experience at workplace, and to determine possible differences between the selected independent variables, including gender, age and participation in recreational sports, and the level of occupational stress experienced.

Methods: We studied a sample of 85 managers from randomly selected Slovene companies. The data obtained were processed by the SPSS computer programme and analysed by the following statistical methods: descriptive statistics and frequency distribution for variables; t-test to examine the statistical signifcance of differences between the genders concerning the experience of stress symptoms; and ANOVA to examine statistical signifcance of differences between age groups and physical activity of groups in terms of stress symptoms. All our statistically significant conclusions were drawn at a 95% confidence interval.

Results: The participants assessed their work-related stress as moderate. There were no statistically significant differences in their experiencing of occupational stress with respect to the selected socio-demographic variables, i.e. gender and age. However, the participating managers differed significantly in two variables, i.e. participation in recreational sports activities and experience of occupational stress. The lowest level of stress was experienced by managers practicing recreational sports at least three times a week, and the highest in those not engaged in any recreational sports activities.

Conclusion: Managers who often experience stress need to adopt healthier, more physically active, lifestyles.

Open access

Friderika Kresal, Tine Bertoncel and Maja Meško

Abstract

Background and purpose: Professional drivers as a group are exposed to high risk of developing low back pain due to ergonomic factors and work conditions. The purpose of the study was to examine to what extent the low back pain occurs among Slovene professional drivers as a result of the development of various psychosocial factors.

Methodology: The study involved 275 respondents (professional bus drivers, car/van drivers, international truck/lorry drivers, and ambulance car drivers). Hypotheses were tested using multivariate statistical method (regression analysis) and analysis of variance. Data were collected by structured questionnaire comprised of three parts: socio-demographic data, basic psychosocial factors causing low back pain, and incidence, duration and severity of low back pain as a result of psychosocial risk factors, was implemented.

Results: The results of quantitative survey suggest that low back pain is mostly caused by lifting and carrying heavy loads, inadequate working conditions, poor physical fitness, regular nights out, shift work, and stress. Only the impact of gender on low back pain distress among professional drivers was confirmed, predominantly among bus drivers and lorry drivers on international routes. Low back pain occurrence was less common, albeit not statistically significant, among professional drivers of vans and passenger cars.

Conclusion: Our study suggests that psychosocial factors are also important cause for the development of low back pain among professional drivers and can limit the quality of their social and professional lives.

Open access

Jera Zajec, Mateja Videmšek, Jože Štihec, Damir Karpljuk, Matej Tušak and Maja Meško

Življenjski Slog Vzgojiteljev in Pomočnikov Vzgojiteljev Kot Element Subjektivnih Teorij

Uvod: S subjektivnimi teorijami vzgojiteljev in pomočnikov vzgojiteljev avtorji osvetlijo problem kakovostnega preživljanja časa otrok v vrtcih in s tem povezanega prevzemanja življenjskega sloga predšolskih otrok. Z ugotavljanjem razlik v mnenjih, stališčih in v navadah med vzgojitelji in pomočniki vzgojiteljev o nekaterih dejavnikih kakovosti preživljanja časa otrok v vrtcu avtorji ugotavljajo, ali imajo vzgojitelji, ki imajo večji vpliv na usmerjenost dela v vrtcu, tudi strožja merila ocenjevanja trenutnega stanja.

Metode: Vzorec anketirancev je obsegal 810 vzgojiteljev in pomočnikov vzgojiteljev iz celotne Slovenije. Podatki so bili zbrani v okviru širšega raziskovalnega projekta z naslovom Profesionalno usposabljanje strokovnih delavcev za izvajanje elementov posebnih pedagoških načel koncepta Reggio Emilia na področju predšolske vzgoje. Za analizo podatkov smo uporabili statistični program SPSS različice 16.

Rezultati: Analiza rezultatov je pokazala razlike med vzgojitelji in pomočniki vzgojiteljev v oceni količine in kakovosti športnih pripomočkov ter v odnosu do gibalnih/športnih dejavnosti, in sicer v prid vzgojiteljem, ki so tudi pogosteje gibalno/športno dejavni in pogosteje izvajajo gibalne dejavnosti v vrtcih.

Zaključek: Rezultati raziskave avtorje usmerjajo v preoblikovanje subjektivnih teorij na podlagi celotnega vzgojno-izobraževalnega procesa. V ta namen predlagajo širitev ponudb preventivnih gibalnih/športnih programov v obstoječe programe izobraževanja bodočih pomočnikov in vzgojiteljev, širjenje ponudb seminarjev stalnega strokovnega izpopolnjevanja ter obogatitev športno-rekreativnih programov v vrtcih za starše, otroke in za zaposlene. S celostnim pristopom bi pripomogli k preoblikovanju subjektivnih teorij, ki posledično vplivajo tudi na usmerjenost vzgojiteljev in pomočnikov v gibalne dejavnosti predšolskih otrok.

Open access

Mateja Videmšek, Jože Štihec, Damir Karpljuk, Maja Meško, Jera Gregorc and Naja Videmšek

Abstract

Objective. The aim of this study was to analyze the opinions of educators about the occurrence of injuries in children of different ages during organized and non-organized physical activities in kindergarten. Methods. Our sample included 322 teachers from 53 kindergartens in Slovenia. We calculated the frequencies and performed a chi-square test. Results. Most of the children have organized physical activity in kindergarten 1 to 2 times per week; for children in the first age group, it usually lasts for 20 minutes or less; for children in the second age group, it lasts for 20 to 30 minutes. Most physical activities take place in the playroom, where the majority of injuries also occur. Injuries most frequently occur when running and jumping and less frequently during other physical activities. During free play, children are often injured in the outer court between 9 and 12 a.m. Boys are more often injured than girls. Educators indicate unforeseen situations as the most common cause of injury. The most common injuries are bumps on the head, especially in younger children, who stay at home for a few days as a result of these injuries. Parents of younger children are not as satisfied with the actions of educators when injuries occur as parents of older preschool children. Educators rehabilitate the children’s injuries themselves and inform parents about it. Only one third of the educators make a record of injuries, and half of them only when a serious injury has occurred. Conclusions. The analysis results showed statistically significant differences between children of different ages according to the cause of injury, time of injury, the place where the child was injured during organized physical activity, type of activity at the time of injury, injured part of the body, and parental satisfaction with the action of the educator. Based on the results, we proposed some actions to reduce injuries in preschool children in kindergarten.