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Intervention for executive functions development in early elementary school children: effects on formal learning and behaviour

Grant number: 12/50418-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2013
Effective date (End): June 30, 2014
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Psychology - Cognitive Psychology
Principal Investigator:Alessandra Gotuzo Seabra
Grantee:Natália Martins Dias
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Biológicas e da Saúde (CCBS). Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie (UPM). Instituto Presbiteriano Mackenzie. São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Executive functions are a set of skills that enable control of cognitions, behaviors and emotions, and are relevant to learning and self-regulated behavior. International studies have recognized the importance of interventions on these skills, especially in a preventive approach. In the researcher's PhD, an intervention program focusing on prevention was developed and tested with children aged 5 and 6 years, with promising results on the performance on executive functions tests. In continuity, this project aims to extend the results of this pioneering study, investigating whether participation in the intervention program may extend its gains for reading and arithmetic learning and behavioral measures, including inattention and hyperactivity indicators, and if the gains are maintained after 6 months. The participants will be approximately 4 teachers and 60 children, mean age 6 years, from 4 classes of 1 st degree of elementary of a public school in SP. The project will be developed over four stages: pre-test, intervention, posttest and follow-up. At pretest, children will be evaluated in the Columbia Mental Maturity Scale (CMMS), Semantic Stroop Test and Trail Making Test for preschoolers. Parents and teachers will respond to the Children Executive Functioning Inventory, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire and MTA-SNAP-IV. In the intervention, the 2 teachers assigned to GE will be guided and supervised in the implementation of program activities in the classroom. The GC will stay with the regular activities. In the posttest and follow-up, the same instruments will be used, except the CMMS, and children will be tested in reading and arithmetic. It intends to contribute to the discussion about interventions for executive functions and generalization of results, culminating in the intervention program publication. (AU)

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