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Executive functions and approaches to learning in predicting school readiness


This study examined relations between two components of self regulation, executive functions and approaches to learning, in Head Start preschoolers, and to test whether the effects of executive functions on child outcome gains were mediated by approaches to learning. Data were collected on 179 four-year-old Head Start preschoolers assessed on executive functions (inhibition, cognitive flexibility, and working memory), approaches to learning (including persistence, self-reliance, and motivation, using both a teacher rating scale and a direct observation), school readiness, and verbal ability. Executive functions significantly predicted approaches to learning and change in school readiness from fall to spring controlling for verbal ability. Approaches to learning also significantly predicted change in school readiness, but did not significantly mediate the relation between executive functions and school readiness. Results are discussed in terms of the roles that executive functions and approaches to learning play in preparing at-risk preschool children for success in school. (author abstract)

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Reports & Papers
United States
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