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An Investigation of Head Start Preschool Children’s Executive Function, Early Literacy, and Numeracy Learning in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on preschool children’s school readiness skills remains understudied. This research investigates whether exposure to in-person (versus virtual) Head Start preschool predicted children’s early numeracy, literacy, and executive function outcomes during a pandemic-affected school year, using a novel virtual assessment methodology. Study children (N = 336; mean age = 51 months; 46% Hispanic; 36% Black Non-Hispanic; 52% female) experienced low in-person preschool exposure compared to national pre-pandemic norms. However, study children experienced gains during the pandemic-affected year of 0.08 SD in executive function, 0.34 SD in print knowledge, and 0.49-0.75 in early numeracy skills. For two of the three early numeracy domains measured, spring test score outcomes were stronger among children who attended more in-person preschool.

Keywords
COVID-19, Head Start, preschool, executive function, early literacy, numeracy
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
10.26300/994d-qs85

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Lynch, Kathleen, Monica Lee, and Susanna Loeb. (). An Investigation of Head Start Preschool Children’s Executive Function, Early Literacy, and Numeracy Learning in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic. (EdWorkingPaper: 22-555). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/994d-qs85

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