Advisor: Mary Fuhs, Ph.D.



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The proposed research is designed to address major deficits in the knowledge regarding the development of dual-language learners in the U.S. preschool setting, including the lack of information about the impact of free choice play with non-dual-language learning peers and the absence of descriptive data on the social interactions that occur during free play as such. The focus of the study is on the dual-language learners’ growth of executive functioning skills and English language development across the preschool year, in relations to their social interactions during free play with non-dual-language learning peers. The participants will be 50 dual-language learning children attending preschool programs residing in low socioeconomic status communities. Participating children will be screened for English proficiency and administered the Woodcock-Johnson and Minnesota Executive Functions Scale to assess executive functioning skills at the start of the school year, with quarterly executive functioning assessments, and a final screening for English proficiency at the end of the year. Observations of the free play social interactions will be completed via teacher-report in relations to the Child Observation in Preschools Manual, and teacher/parent surveys will identify potential outside influences on the child’s development. Higher frequency of effective socialization during free play is expected to be associated with positive executive functioning and language growth. The proposed research will provide additional support to existing research on specific methods and educational tools that need to be implemented in preschools with dual language learners to support their development and academic success.

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student scholarship


Anthropology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work | Sociology

The Academic Achievement of Dual Language Learning Preschoolers