Preschool Attendance in the Development of Executive Functions in Children Aged 4–7
Background. Executive functions are one of the factors that contribute to the balanced development of children and their success in the future. In this regard, the study of factors that may influence the development of executive functions is an urgent task. The study examines the role of the kindergarten attendance duration in the development of working memory, cognitive flexibility and inhibition as components of executive functions in preschool children.
Methods. The NEPSY–II battery subtests were used to test the level of development of regulatory functions. Data on the period of children’s kindergarten attendance were collected according to preschool attendance journal.
Sample. The study involved 947 children aged 53 to 86 months (Mage = 70.3; SDage = 4.3), 515 boys and 495 girls from Moscow, Kazan, and Sochi.
Results. As a result of comparison of averages using Welch’s criterion, significant differences were found in the development of regulatory functions in children with different periods of kindergarten attendance. The level of visual and verbal working memory development was significantly higher in children who attended kindergarten for more than two years as compared to children with shorter time of attendance. Physical inhibitory control is significantly lower in children who attend kindergarten for less than a year compared to those who attend kindergarten for longer periods of time. Significant differences were shown in the level of visual working memory development depending on the region and on the duration of attendance.
Conclusion. The study demonstrated significant differences in the level of visual working memory, verbal working memory, and physical inhibitory control in children depending on the duration of kindergarten attendance. The highest scores were found in preschoolers attending kindergarten for more than two years. Thus, the results of the study emphasize the importance of kindergarten educational environment for successful cognitive development of preschoolers.
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Keywords: executive functions; working memory; inhibition; cognitive flexibility; kindergarten; educational environment; preschoolers
Available online since: 21.11.2023
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