Ready? Set. Go! A school readiness programme designed to boost executive function skills in preschoolers experiencing homelessness and high mobility

Rebecca Distefano, Erin C. Schubert, Megan C. Finsaas, Christopher David Desjardins, Catrina K. Helseth, Marie Lister, Stephanie M. Carlson, Philip David Zelazo, Ann S. Masten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Converging evidence suggests that homeless and highly mobile children in the United States often begin school with limited school readiness skills, such as academic knowledge and socioemotional competencies. Research also indicates that executive function (EF) is foundational to learning and social skills in young children, including those experiencing homelessness. These findings suggest that school readiness could be improved by targeting EF skills. The current pilot study examined implementation and promise of Ready? Set. Go! (RSG)–a brief intervention developed to improve EF among high-risk preschoolers through teacher training, EF-focused activities, individualized child coaching, and parent education. Participants were 75 preschoolers from an emergency homeless shelter and community organization serving similarly disadvantaged families. Results indicated RSG was appealing to parents and teachers and could be implemented with high fidelity. Children who received RSG showed significantly greater improvements in their EF skills than comparison children 1 month after the intervention ended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-894
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Developmental Psychology
Volume17
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are thankful to all the families and teachers who participated in this research programme and to our community collaborators. The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A110528 to the University of Minnesota. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of IES, the U.S. Department of Education, or other funders.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • Executive function
  • homeless and highly mobile
  • intervention
  • school readiness

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