1. Journal of Educational Psychology: “Examining the Relations Between Executive Function, Math, and Literacy During the Transition to Kindergarten: A Multi-Analytic Approach”
Schmitt, S., Geldhof, G. J., Purpura, D. J., Duncan, R., & McClelland, M. M. (March 2017). Examining the relations between executive function, math, and literacy during the transition to Kindergarten: A multi-analytic approach. Journal of Educational Psychology.
Abstract: The present study explored the bidirectional and longitudinal associations between executive function (EF) and early academic skills (math and literacy) across 4 waves of measurement during the transition from preschool to kindergarten using 2 complementary analytical approaches: cross-lagged panel modeling and latent growth curve modeling (LCGM). Participants included 424 children (49% female). On average, children were approximately 4.5 years old at the beginning of the study (M = 4.69, SD = .30) and 55% were enrolled in Head Start. Cross-lagged panel models indicated bidirectional relations between EF and math over preschool, which became directional in kindergarten with only EF predicting math. Moreover, there was a bidirectional relation between math and literacy that emerged in kindergarten. Similarly, LGCM revealed correlated growth between EF and math as well as math and literacy, but not EF and literacy. Exploring the patterns of relations across the waves of the panel model in conjunction with the patterns of relations between intercepts and slopes in the LGCMs led to a more nuanced understanding of the relations between EF and academic skills across preschool and kindergarten. Implications for future research on instruction and intervention development are discussed.
2. Early Childhood Education Journal: “The Effects of Positive Action on Preschoolers’ Social–Emotional Competence and Health Behaviors”
Schmitt, S., Lewis, K. M., Duncan, R., Korucu, I., & Napoli, A. (March 2017). The effects of positive action on preschoolers’ social–emotional competence and health behaviors. Early Childhood Education Journal. DOI: 10.1007/s10643-017-0851-0
Abstract: Children from low-income families are at greater risk for poor social–emotional development and physical health and may be in need of intervention. This study examined the extent to which the Positive Action (PA) preschool lessons improved low-income children’s social–emotional competence and health behaviors. Mixed findings emerged with regard to whether the lessons facilitated growth in child outcomes. Results showed positive effects of PA on children’s directly-assessed social problem solving skills and their parent-rated social–emotional competence and health behaviors. Unexpectedly, program effects on teacher ratings of social–emotional competence were in the opposite direction. These findings provide preliminary evidence that PA may be effective in promoting positive social–emotional and health behavior outcomes for children, particularly when outcomes are assessed directly and by parents.