WWC review of this study

Mindfulness plus reflection training: Effects on executive function in early childhood [Opening the World of Learning Literacy Training vs. business as usual (regular classroom activities or Second Step: Social-Emotional Skills for Early Learning)]

Zelazo, P. D., Forston, J. L., Masten, A. S., & Carlson, S. M. (2018). Frontiers in Psychology, 9(208), 1–12.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    144
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: February 2022

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Reading & Literacy Related outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement (WJ-III) Letter-Word Identification Subtest

Opening the World of Learning vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Postintervention: Opening the World of Learning (OWL) Literacy Training vs BAU;
127 students

12.63

13.32

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement (WJ-III) Letter-Word Identification Subtest

Opening the World of Learning vs. Business as usual

6 Weeks

Follow-up: Opening the World of Learning (OWL) Literacy Training vs BAU;
133 students

14.99

15.94

No

--
Self-regulation outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Head-Toes-Knees-Shoulders (HTKS)

Opening the World of Learning vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Postintervention: Opening the World of Learning (OWL) Literacy Training vs BAU;
130 students

20.04

16.98

No

--
More Outcomes

Peg Tapping

Opening the World of Learning vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Postintervention: Opening the World of Learning (OWL) Literacy Training vs BAU;
130 students

12.88

12.31

No

--

Minnesota executive function scale (MEFS)

Opening the World of Learning vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Postintervention: Opening the World of Learning (OWL) Literacy Training vs BAU;
125 students

46.97

45.52

No

--

Child Behavior Rating Scale

Opening the World of Learning vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

postintervention: Opening the World of Learning (OWL) Literacy Training vs BAU;
101 students

37.24

36.76

No

--
Show Supplemental Findings

Head-Toes-Knees-Shoulders (HTKS)

Opening the World of Learning vs. Business as usual

6 Weeks

Follow-up: Opening the World of Learning (OWL) Literacy Training vs BAU;
136 students

24.17

19.33

No

--

Minnesota executive function scale (MEFS)

Opening the World of Learning vs. Business as usual

6 Weeks

Follow-up: Opening the World of Learning (OWL) Literacy Training vs BAU;
138 students

50.94

46.91

No

--

Children’s Behavior Questionnaire Very Short Form Effortful Control sub scale

Opening the World of Learning vs. Business as usual

6 Weeks

Follow-up: Opening the World of Learning (OWL) Literacy Training vs BAU;
99 students

5.12

4.98

No

--

Child Behavior Rating Scale

Opening the World of Learning vs. Business as usual

6 Weeks

Follow-up: Opening the World of Learning (OWL) Literacy Training vs BAU;
99 students

38.14

36.73

No

--

Peg Tapping

Opening the World of Learning vs. Business as usual

6 Weeks

Follow-up: Opening the World of Learning (OWL) Literacy Training vs BAU;
139 students

13.07

13.67

No

--
Social-Emotional Learning outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Theory of mind scale

Opening the World of Learning vs. Business as usual

2 Weeks

Postintervention: Opening the World of Learning (OWL) Literacy Training vs BAU;
130 students

3.07

3.18

No

--
More Outcomes
Show Supplemental Findings

Theory of mind scale

Opening the World of Learning vs. Business as usual

6 Weeks

Follow-up: Opening the World of Learning (OWL) Literacy Training vs BAU;
138 students

3.33

3.20

No

--

Children’s Behavior Questionnaire Very Short Form Negative Affect sub scale

Opening the World of Learning vs. Business as usual

6 Weeks

follow-up: Opening the World of Learning (OWL) Literacy Training vs BAU;
99 students

3.78

3.53

No

--

Children’s Behavior Questionnaire Very Short Form Surgency sub scale

Opening the World of Learning vs. Business as usual

6 Weeks

follow-up: Opening the World of Learning (OWL) Literacy Training vs BAU;
99 students

4.34

4.71

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


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    District of Columbia, Texas

Setting

The study took place in two preschools—one each in the cities of Houston, TX and Washington, DC—over a six-week period. Intervention conditions were administered in small groups.

Study sample

The 218 children who were randomly assigned ranged in age from 47-63 months with a mean age of 57 months (between the ages of 3 and 5 years old) and were 54 percent female. The authors do not provide any other demographic information for the randomized or analytic samples, but do provide the following about the two participating schools: i) Houston: served children who were primarily Hispanic White; White = 55 percent; More than one race= 32 percent; African American = 9 percent; Native American = 3 percent; Hispanic = 97.4 percent; Primary language English = 68 percent; and ii) Washington, DC: served children who were African American (100 percent). The authors do not provide the numbers of children in each school representing these percentages, and so weighted averages across the two schools cannot be calculated for the Context section of this review.

Intervention Group

Intervention children were taught lessons from the Opening the World of Learning (OWL) curriculum in small-groups of 8-12 children. The children received instruction during 30 24-minute sessions that occurred daily for 6 weeks.

Comparison Group

Children in the comparison condition received the usual instruction in their regular classrooms. In Houston, this involved regular classroom activities at the Houston school; in Washington, this involved the Second Step social-emotional learning intervention.

Support for implementation

The teachers recruited to deliver the two study interventions received a full day of training at the University of Minnesota. Two teachers were trained to administer activities in the 14-lesson mindfulness curriculum and three EF-challenging games presented with reflection protocols. The other two teachers were trained to administer early literacy lessons from the Opening the World of Learning (OWL) curriculum.

 

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