VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- A preschool curriculum may help school performance and close the achievement gap between children of poor families and wealthier ones, a Canadian study says.
University of British Columbia psychiatry professor Adele Diamond led the first evaluation of the curriculum Tools of the Mind that focuses on improving executive functions including: inhibition, planning, time perception, working memory, self-monitoring, verbal self-regulation, regulation of emotion and motivation.
Previous research has shown that executive functions are stronger predictors of academic performance than IQ, and children from lower-income families enter school with disproportionately poor executive functions skills and fall progressively farther behind in school each year, Diamond said.
The study, published in the journal Science, evaluated 147 5-year-olds in a low-income, urban U.S. school district that compared the new curriculum with a balanced literacy curriculum that covered the same academic content but without a focus on executive function. The researchers found Tools of the Mind improved key cognitive functions and self-control.