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Early childhood multidimensional development

A rapid and non-linear roller coaster
PhD ceremony:Ms F. (Fabiola) Figueroa Esquivel
When:February 13, 2020
Supervisors:prof. dr. J.W. (Jan-Willem) Strijbos, dr. E. (Esther) Hartman
Co-supervisor:M.N. (Mayra) Mascareño Lara, Dr
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Behavioural and Social Sciences
Early childhood multidimensional development

This study explored the development and relations between multiple developmental domains in young Mexican children (3 to 6 years of age). Firstly, conscious of the accelerated and non-linear development of young children, the stability and equivalence of the factorial structure of key domains was explored across several developmental moments. Secondly, to expand the integrative view of child development, in this project, executive functions were placed in a central role, and were taken as the anchor that connects with and influences different developmental domains: on the one hand, acting as a mediator in the relation between motor and pre-academic skills, and, on the other hand, having a bidirectional relation with socioemotional competence. Based on our results, we proposed that through the close developmental interrelation present in the early childhood years—particularly with executive functions—a developmental synergy can be created. In this way, domains like motor skills or socioemotional competence work as an important influence on the development of executive functions; whereas executive functions aid in the development of socioemotional competence and pre-academic skills. A better understanding of when and how these interconnections are present in children in socioeconomic disadvantage, and their developmental paths can serve to better canalize strategies to impulse development.