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Social-Emotional Development

"Growing Up in Poverty and Civic Engagement: The Role of Kindergarten Executive Function and Play Predicting Participation in 8th Grade Extracurricular Activities"

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The amount of play that low-income students experience in their kindergarten classrooms predicts how engaged they are in school extracurricular activities in 8th grade, according to a study in the January issue of Applied Developmental Science.

New York University researchers analyzed data from the federal Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Class, comparing kindergarten students' cognitive skills, play time and use of art supplies, musical instruments, dress-up clothes and other dramatic materials to the students' later participation in sports, theater, and other school clubs and activities.

The researchers found that kindergartners who displayed higher levels of executive function—the kinds of cognitive skills related to self-control—tended to participate more in sports, drama, and music activities in middle school. But after controlling for executive function, the amount of classroom play kindergartners had predicted their involvement in extracurricular activities later on.

Vol. 36, Issue 18, Page 5

Published in Print: January 18, 2017, as Social-Emotional Development
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