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Background: Executive functions is especially important for early childhood children. Children with better executive functional skills develop goal-directed behaviors to successfully achieve short and long-term goals.
Objectives: To explore the levels and differences of executive function (EF) development of children during early childhood, separated by gender and age.
Methods: This descriptive research consisted of 185 early childhood children in Early Childhood Development Centers under the Nonthaburi Municipality, selected by multi-stage random sampling. Data were collected by using the assessment of executive functions in preschool children with interrater reliability at .96-1. An independent samples T-test was conducted to compare the mean scores of executive functions separating by gender. One-way analysis of variance was conducted to compare the mean scores of executive functions among age groups.
Results: The children had a mean score of executive functions at a moderate level (M= 55.22, SD=7.31). There was no significant difference (t=0.60, p=.55) in the mean scores of executive function development between boys (M=54.86, SD=7.70) and girls (M=55.51, SD=7.01). There was a significant difference in the mean scores of working memory among age groups [F (2,182) = 94.95, p =.02]. The Games Howell post hoc test was used for multiple comparisons; the result showed that there was a significant difference between the age groups of 3-3.11 years and 5-5.11 years (p=.02).
Conclusions: Children in early childhood had a moderate level of executive function skills. Therefore there should be programs developed to improve their executive function skills in all domains, especially planning/organizing control and shift control.
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