Deve lopment of Inhibition Control in Children during the Transition from Kindergarten to School during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Longitudinal Study
Background. The COVID-19 pandemic is a unique situation in the global community which emerged for the first time. Research shows that the pandemic may have a long-term effect on children’s development. Inhibition control is one of the main components of executive functioning and a predictor to a child’s further academic success. However, there are few works devoted to the study of the impact of the pandemic on inhibition control in preschoolers.
The objective of the study was to identify dynamics of the development of inhibition control in children aged 5–8 years (from senior preschool to primary school age) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Indicators of the development of inhibition control in first-graders before and during the pandemic were compared.
Methods. Inhibition control was assessed three times (at 5, 6, and then at 7 years of age) with the NEPSY-II Inhibition subtest.
Sample. This longitudinal study involved children aged 5 to 8 years at the time of follow-up from 2019 to 2021 (N=101). Additionally, the sample included first-grade children who were trained in kindergarten and first grade before the pandemic (March 2019, N=84).
Results. The results of the analysis indicate that inhibition control successfully developed in children from the senior kindergarten group to the first grade of school during the pandemic. At the same time, the level of development of inhibition control in girls after the pandemic is higher than in girls before the pandemic, while no significant differences were found for boys.
Conclusion. The level of inhibitory control in preschoolers, whose education in the preparatory group of the kindergarten took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the restrictions introduced and changes in the usual way of life, corresponds to the norms. It has been shown that the results of the development of inhibitory control in children who were caught up in the pandemic and those who were not caught up in the pandemic differ depending on gender.
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Keywords: preschool age; primary school age; inhibitory control; executive functions; longitudinal study; COVID-19; pandemic
Available online since: 21.11.2023
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