The project is part of the larger Program project seeking to determine the effectiveness of different curricular interventions on the school readiness of at-risk, low-income children at two ages ( 2 and 4) and at two sites (Texas and Florida). The purpose of this project is to study the language used by the teachers in the different curriculum settings to verify that the practice is distinct in the different curricula, and to connect the differences to the language outcomes of the children. Given the heterogeneity of the children's own language backgrounds, the difference between school and home language will be tested as a moderator of the expected effects on growth. It is expected that both the curricular interventions will have significant effects on the children's language growth across vocabulary, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, including narrative. New tests designed to take into consideration the children's home language background, whether African American English, Standard (or Southern) American English, and bilingual Spanish will be used, that also give in depth analysis of aspects of language of great significance for early schooling. The second outcome variable will be growth in indices of Theory of Mind, an essential social-cognitive achievement of the preschool years. The substantial age range, heterogeneity and size of the sample populations will allow the testing of various theoretical models of how mature Theory of Mind develops. Measures of metarepresentation, executive function (specifically working memory and inhibitory control), early Theory of Mind and False Belief reasoning tasks (standard and non-standard)will be given to the children together with the language tasks in a longitudinal design, and models of their interrelationships will be tested at several time points. These empirical data will contribute significantly to the theoretical debates about the precursors of mature Theory of Mind. Finally, the language and Theory of Mind outcomes will themselves be used to predict later functioning and school readiness in the groups of children.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1)
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University of Texas Health Science Center Houston
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Merz, Emily C; Landry, Susan H; Zucker, Tricia A et al. (2016) Parenting Predictors of Delay Inhibition in Socioeconomically Disadvantaged Preschoolers. Infant Child Dev 25:371-390
Lonigan, Christopher J; Phillips, Beth M; Clancy, Jeanine L et al. (2015) Impacts of a Comprehensive School Readiness Curriculum for Preschool Children at Risk for Educational Difficulties. Child Dev 86:1773-93
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Eisenberg, Nancy; Eggum, Natalie D; Di Giunta, Laura (2010) Empathy-related Responding: Associations with Prosocial Behavior, Aggression, and Intergroup Relations. Soc Issues Policy Rev 4:143-180
Eisenberg, Nancy; Valiente, Carlos; Eggum, Natalie D (2010) Self-Regulation and School Readiness. Early Educ Dev 21:681-698
Eisenberg, Nancy; Valiente, Carlos; Sulik, Michael J (2009) How the study of regulation can inform the study of coping. New Dir Child Adolesc Dev 2009:75-86

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