Early childhood selective attention, vocabulary, and other prerequisites for school success: Studying early childhood educational disadvantage

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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In this dissertation, a sample of preschoolers participating in an early childhood education intervention (Good Start) was studied. The results of the first study showed that selective attention at age 2.5 uniquely predicted components of executive functioning at age 3, which is an important precursor of school success.

The results of the second study showed that for selective attention and receptive vocabulary, risk factors did not explain developmental patterns. However, the study revealed that the children with a low starting level experienced the most growth.

In the third study, a control group was included to investigate whether the catch-up effects of study two could be explained by participation in Good start. The results showed that at age 3, children from Good Start, scored slightly higher on selective attention than the children from regular early childhood education (and care) settings. However, there appeared to be no significant difference on receptive vocabulary at age 3 between the groups.

In addition, a sample of children born in the Netherlands in 2006 was studied. The results of the fourth study showed that with comparable income during early childhood, labour participation by parents in the beginning of children’s life’s was positively related to Cito final test scores at the end of elementary school, compared to the scores of children whose parents were (partly) dependent on social assistance benefits during children’s early childhood.

Three important implications follow from this dissertation. First, it is important to critically evaluate and, if necessary, revise the Dutch system for selecting children for early childhood education in preschools. A second implication concerns conducting additional efficacy research into goal-directed teaching by play-based learning in preschools, through partnerships between teachers of elementary schools and preschools in the Netherlands. A final implication concerns combating poverty and increasing opportunities for parents on social assistance benefits.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Veldkamp, Bernard P., Supervisor
  • van Tuijl, Cathy, Supervisor, External person
  • Luyten, Hans J.W., Supervisor
Award date3 Nov 2023
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-5761-0
Electronic ISBNs978-90-365-5762-7
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023


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