Moving America Forward

A Training Program That Improves Preschoolers’ Attention Spans

November 19, 2013
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A Training Program That Improves Preschoolers’ Attention Spans
preschoolers reading learning
Wendy Carlson/Getty Images
And helps low-income families, too

Kids from low-income families often have more difficulty paying attention at preschool, which behavior psychologists attribute to the chronic stress they face at home, where the ability to zone out can be psychologically beneficial. Researchers at the University of Oregon and Willamette University wanted to figure out the best intervention to help low-income preschoolers extend their attention spans. Would a school-based attention-improving lesson plan or an intervention with the children’s families work best? The researchers worked with 141 kids in Head Start and found that an eight-week series of classes to help low-income parents learn how to increase their kids’ attention span and reduce their stress worked better than school-based programs, with the children in this study group making gains in attention processing, nonverbal IQ, receptive language and pre-literacy skills.

 

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