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Research reports on early education from NIEER and outside organizations

Research Reports

Preschool Program Improves Cognitive Control


November 1, 2007
OutcomesQuality and Curriculum

Findings from a study appearing in Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), show that the play-based Tools of the Mind curriculum can improve cognitive control (executive function) in preschool-age children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Preschool Program Improves Cognitive Control

Adele Diamond, W. Steven Barnett, Jessica Thomas, Sarah Munro
November 30, 2007, Science, vol. 317

Findings from a study appearing in the November 30, 2007 issue of Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), show that the play-based Tools of the Mind curriculum taught in regular classrooms with regular teachers can improve cognitive control (executive function) in preschool-age children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The research team, which included University of British Columbia’s Adele Diamond and Sarah Munro and NIEER’s Steve Barnett and Jessica Thomas, evaluated 147 5-year-olds in a poor urban school district. Children were randomly assigned to a program teaching Tools or another with a more traditional curriculum. The children receiving Tools turned in markedly higher scores on tests requiring them to inhibit tendencies and focus their attention on the task at hand. Executive function skills correlate with later school success and other important outcomes.

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