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In recent years, the mindfulness concept is increasingly applied to the education sector to promote executive functions (EFs) in young children. However, the evidence for benefits of mindfulness training on EFs in preschool children with initially poor EFs is still limited. In this study, a school-based mindfulness (SM) program was designed based on a universal concept of mindfulness, in which the activities were adapted to fit with the context in Thailand. The impact of the SM program on EFs and self-regulation was investigated in preschoolers at risk. Children were assessed their EF development using teacher reporting measures and they were then randomly assigned to either the SM group (n=15) or the control group (n=15). The SM program was delivered over the course of 8 weeks. Various methods were used to assess EFs for both behavioral and cognitive performance levels prior to and after the program. The results indicate that SM training improved children’s behavior related to EF skill (F(1,25) = 4.38, p = .05) when compared to the control group. For performance levels, the SM group also showed greater development in working memory (t(28) = 2.36, p = .03) and inhibition (bear-lion, t(28) = 2.35, p = .03; peg tapping, t(28) = 2.19, p = .04), but not cognitive flexibility (t(28) = 1.04, p = .31). The findings suggest that the SM program could enhance EFs, self-regulation development, and improve classroom behavior in preschoolers with initially poor EFs. Policy implications must consider the use of an embedded SM program in early childhood education. Besides, the SM program can be further adjusted by teachers or caregivers to meet the needs of individual child.
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