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The Power of Language: Does the Quality of Preschool Teacher Language Translate Into Children's Executive Functions?

The co-development of language and executive functions (EFs) in early childhood is a critical part of cognitive development that has implications for a successful transition to school and later academic outcomes. With emerging research indicating that teacher language supports young children's cognition, it is important to establish whether childcare providers' language is related to children's EFs, and whether child language mediates this relation. Knowing whether and how childcare provider language is linked to children's language and EF skills can create a new path for preschool-age interventions that are beneficial, effective, and sustainable.

This project will use secondary data analysis of two longitudinal datasets to test if childcare provider language prospectively predicts child EFs directly or indirectly through child language. We will also examine if different ways of measuring preschool teacher language quality are differentially predictive of child language and subsequent EFs. A major strength of this study is the use of two datasets, both of which have multiple measures of teacher language quality (one global, whole class and one child-specific), preschoolers' language, and EF skills during the transition into kindergarten.

Award(s)

Funding Agency:  

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Funding Period:  

12/04/2020 to 11/30/2022

Award Amount:  

$155,500

Staff

Laura J. Kuhn, Principal Investigator