Nouf M Alhakami



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The presentation will describe a study that focuses on how early science education impacts the development executive functioning (EF) skills. Early science education can be an effective method for improving preschoolers’ working memory and inhibitory control. The study involves observations of preschoolers in a STEM-focused classroom and those in a more traditional classroom where science is not the focus of the curriculum. Objectives: First, Participants will develop a better understanding of how early science education affects engagement in EF skill development. Second, Teachers and curriculum leaders will develop a better understanding of how curriculum supports EF skills. The poster session will introduce executive functioning skills and explain why they are important for children during the first 5 years. EF skills are acquired through both formal learning experiences and also through life experience. These skills are not innate and skills such as working memory, and inhibitory control must be intentionally developed in preschool children. This poster will explain the role of a STEM curriculum in improving EF skills and will demonstrate how preschoolers in a STEM focused classroom are more engaged in EF skills than those in a non-STEM focused classroom. The results of structured observations in two types of classrooms, STEM, and non-STEM through circle time and learning centers of the daily schedule will be shown. The methodology of the study includes the use of a structured observation tool, the Engagement Check II (McWilliams, 1994), which was used to assess child engagement/focus and also a structured observation of the Ohio Early Learning and Development standards that address approaches to learning. A discussion of the results will provide a better understanding of the difference in STEM focused and non-focused curriculum practices and the impact of those practices on the opportunities for children to engage in EF skill development.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Shauna M. Adams

Primary Advisor's Department

Teacher Education


Stander Symposium poster

The Effects of Early Science Education on the Acquisition of Executive Functioning Skills in Preschoolers