Working with teachers’ pedagogical strengths: The design of executive function activities for play-based programs

Marilyn Fleer
Nikolai Veresov
Monash University

Linda Harrison
Charles Sturt University

Sue Walker
Queensland University of Technology

Evidence for the predictive effect of Executive Functions (EF) on school readiness and later school achievement has been noted. However, some studies show that EF activities are not sustained beyond the study period due to limited engagement by teachers and children. In light of this problem, this paper presents the pedagogical outcomes of a pilot study where teachers used ‘playworlds’ (Lindqvist, 1995) to embed EF into their programs. Five preschool teachers and five assistant teachers participated in the study over 10 weeks. Focus group interviews of all participants were conducted. A cultural-historical analysis showed that teachers developed motivating activities that promoted the sustainable development of EF in contexts of high child-engagement and motivation. The pedagogical features and implications for early childhood education are reported.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 42 Number 4 December 2017.

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