Self-regulation skills prepare children for school
Washington: Efforts to utilise music and games to help pre-schoolers learn self-regulation skills could help prepare at-risk children for kindergarten education, a new study says.
The intervention was most effective among children who are considered to be at the highest risk of struggling in school - those belonging to low-income backgrounds and learning English as a second language.
Self-regulation skills that help children pay attention, follow directions, stay on task and persist through difficulty are critical to a child's success in kindergarten and beyond.
"Most children do just fine in the transition to kindergarten, but 20 to 25 percent of them experience difficulties - those difficulties have a lot to do with self-regulation," said Megan McClelland from the Oregon State University in the US.
"Any intervention you can develop to make that transition easier can be beneficial," McClelland added.
In all, 276 children enrolled in federally funded programmes for at-risk children participated in the study.
The intervention ran for eight weeks, with two 20- to 30-minute sessions each week.
Research assistants came into classes and led children through movement and music-based games that increased in complexity over time and encouraged the children to practice self-regulation skills.
Children who had received the intervention scored significantly higher on two direct measures of self-regulation, found the study.
Participants in the intervention also scored significantly higher in math than their peers in the control group.
The study was published recently in Early Childhood Research Quarterly.