Infant and Child Development

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Volume 21 Issue 4 (July/August 2012), Pages i-ii, 325-441

Improving executive functions in 5‐ and 6‐year‐olds: Evaluation of a small group intervention in prekindergarten and kindergarten children (pages 411-429)

Research suggests a central role of executive functions for children's cognitive and social development during preschool years, especially in promoting school readiness. Interventions aiming to improve executive functions are therefore being called for. The present study examined the effect of a small group intervention implemented in kindergarten settings focusing on basic components of executive functions, i.e., working memory, interference control and cognitive flexibility. A total of 135 children enrolled in Swiss prekindergarten (5‐year‐olds) and kindergarten (6‐year‐olds) were involved. Results revealed that the small group intervention promoted gains in all three included components of executive functions: prekindergarten children substantially improved their working memory and cognitive flexibility processes, whereas significant training effects were found for the kindergarten children in interference control. Implications of these findings for early intervention programs and for tailoring preschool curricula are discussed, particularly with respect to children's school readiness. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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