Head, Toes, Knees, SKIP! Improving Preschool Children’s Executive Function Through a Motor Competence Intervention

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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Executive function skills play a critical role in school readiness for young children and can be improved through targeted intervention. However, children in preschool often experience deficits in multiple developmental domains. Thus, there is a need for integrated interventions that target multiple domains in concert. This study tested whether a proven gross motor skill intervention, Successful Kinesthetic Instruction for Preschoolers (SKIP), also improves preschoolers’ executive function. Participants were randomly assigned to either intervention (n = 50) or control (n = 57) conditions. Prior to intervention, executive function and gross motor skills were tested. Intervention occurred for 6 weeks with 30-min sessions twice weekly (dose = 360 min). At posttest, participants in the SKIP condition showed significantly better gross motor and executive function skills than control participants. Results are the first to document the effectiveness of the SKIP intervention in also improving children’s executive function.

Mulvey is with North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC. Taunton, Pennell, and Brian are with the University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

Mulvey (klmulvey1@ncsu.edu) is corresponding author.
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