Executive Function in Early Childhood: Qualitative and Quantitative Patterns of Development Among Students within a Montessori Classroom
Date of Award
Doctor of Education in Early Childhood Education (Ed.D)
Dr. BinBin Jiang
Dr. Robert A. DeVillar
Dr. Feland Meadows
This mixed methodology study observed five executive function components (working memory, attention, planning, cognitive flexibility, and inhibitory control) in a Montessori preschool environment for three to five year olds. The purpose of the study was to understand patterns of development for three, four, and five year olds in a natural environment. There were five findings found after analysis: 1) a cluster of components of working memory/planning/attention, 2) patterns of frequency of components, 3) the role of interest in EF components, 4) patterns within each of the five components and 5) patterns of data triangulation between the parent, teacher, and researcher. The current literature has varying views on how components interrelate as well as patterns in age and gender. After analyzing the data from the current study, four of the five findings were across age groups with the exception of some patterns in the isolation components.