University of Minnesota
Driven to Discover

Preschooler Movement and Brain Development: Promoting the Critical Connection

This course was formerly called Preschoolers in Movement: Exploring Their World

Earn 42 clock hours or 1 Academic Credit

Next Session: July 2 to August 13, 2018

Child on a slideThis course explores physical activity for the preschool child’s development physically as well as socially, emotionally, and cognitively. The preschooler's brain development is synthesized and linked to the daily life of the child. The course illuminates current societal influences facing professionals and parents regarding physical play for preschoolers. Practical application focuses on developmental progressions in locomotion, object control and play skill as the “whole child” grows. The goal is facilitation of fun physical activity engagement that also matches best practice from sources like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that can be applied even in international settings.

International students are welcome!

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students will be knowledgeable about preschool physical activity at many levels, including the ability to:

  • Identify the influence of the political policies of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Head Start on the engagement of preschoolers in physical activity in programs and homes
  • Identify the position statements regarding physical activity for preschoolers from the Council of Physical Activity of Children (COPEC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NEAYC)
  • Identify the health benefits of physical activity for preschoolers including the research from the Center on Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Identify locomotor skills and learning activities
  • Identify object control skills and learning activities
  • Distinguish the development of physical, cognition, social, and emotional skill within physical play
  • Identify structured and unstructured physical play, including the contextual influences on child participation and teacher facilitation
  • Identify teaching strategies for preschoolers’ physical activity, including games

The course is divided into eight learning modules:

Module 1: Politics and Preschoolers in Movement
Module 2: Professional Organizations and Physical Activity Recommendations
Module 3: Brain Development and Health Benefits of Preschoolers
Module 4: Fundamental Movement Skills: Locomotion
Module 5: Fundamental Movement Skills: Object Control Activities for Preschoolers
Module 6: Physical Play
Module 7: Physical Play: Structured and Unstructured
Module 8: Teaching Strategies, Games, and Resources

This online course is approved by the Minnesota Center for Professional Development to count toward career lattice steps.

International students are welcome!


For 42 clock hours: $400 registration fee

For 1 academic credit: $400 tuition

Registration Information

To register for clock hours:

  1. Please read important information in About Online Courses.
  2. Register and pay online. You will receive a confirmation of registration.
  3. You will be emailed getting started instructions, including how to access the course site, on the Friday before the session begins.

To register for academic credit:

There is a two-step registration process. You must complete both steps in order to fully and completely register for this course. You will be emailed getting started instructions, including how to access the course site, on the Friday before the session begins.

  • Degree-seeking students currently enrolled at the University of Minnesota may not use our for-credit courses toward their degree program. Should a currently enrolled student choose to register for academic credit, the student may be subjected to additional University fees.
  • Degree-seeking students enrolled in schools other than the University of Minnesota wishing to use our course as an elective must directly seek prior approval from their degree program.
  1. Please read important information in About Online Courses.
  2. Register online.
  3. Complete and submit the Registration Request for Graduate Credit form. Complete the highlighted sections (e.g., do NOT register via OneStop; send your Grad Credit Request form to CEED, not the University.) Questions? Contact Karen Anderson at Please submit this form as soon as possible. CEED will obtain the appropriate approval signatures and forward your form to One Stop Student Services.
  4. When the University processes your request form, you will receive a confirmation from One Stop Student Services with information regarding your student account and payment. You must activate your student account to pay your bill.
  5. On the Friday before the session begins, you will be emailed getting started instructions, including how to access the course site.

Required Materials

There are no required materials to purchase for this course.

Carol Leitschuh, Instructor

Carol LeitschuhCarol Leitschuh, Ph.D. is a Fulbright Scholar specializing at CEED in early childhood movement for children with atypical and typical movement patterns. Her international expertise is brought to focus in both theory and practice to readily be used across cultures and family contexts. For very young children, movement experiences are seen as critical in addressing positive developmental trajectories and avoiding cumulative risk. Dr Leitschuh’s expertise is in assessment and evaluation. She is recognized as a special education scholar in America and abroad publishing Special Physical Education now in the 10th Edition. With a United States Department of Education grant, Dr. Leitschuh developed a valid and reliable monitoring tool of infant/toddler movement referred to as the Individual Growth and Development Indicator for Infant/Toddler Movement (Movement IGDI). The tool is used for 2 minutes in a standardized observation and is reported to be highly and significantly correlated with an overall comprehensive assessment of motor skills at these young ages. For consultations including speaking engagements or trainings, contact Carol Leitschuh at

Dr. Leitschuh authored and instructs the online courses Infant/Toddler Movement and Brain Development: Understanding the Critical Connection and Preschooler Movement and Brain Development: Promoting the Critical Connection.

Recent Publications

Leitschuh, C.A., Harring, J. R., & Dunn, W. (2014). A monitoring tool of infant toddler movement skill. Journal of Early Intervention, 36(1), 18-36.

Recent Presentations

Leitschuh, C.A., (2016, June 12-14). Everybody moves, everybody plays! Understanding and promoting development for all young children through movement. Presented at the Summer Institute sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Education and Center for Early Education and Development is held at St John's University, Collegeville, MN.

Leitschuh, C.A. (2014, June). A monitoring tool of early movement: New tool, new perspective. Invited presentation at Oregon State University, Corvallis OR, Movement Study in Disability.

Leitschuh, C. A. (2014, June). A monitoring tool of early movement: New tool, new perspective. Invited presentation at University of Oregon, Center on Human Development.

Upcoming Sessions

  • Summer 2018 (six-week session): July 2 to August 13, 2018 (for clock hours only)

Related Resources


Contact Karen Anderson, CEED online course manager, at or 612-625-6617.

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The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer
Last modified on February 21, 2013.