Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Department of Graduate Psychology


Elena Savina

Trevor Stokes

Vesna Hart


Self-regulation skills are an important predictor of academic achievement, mental health, and positive behavior in the classroom (Blair & Diamond, 2008; Cameron et al., 2016; Skibbe et al., 2019). In early childhood, self-regulation is intrinsically connected with motor development. The neuropsychological overlap between the brain regions involved in cognitive and motor development can be leveraged through interventions. In bridging research and practice, this study proposes that movement-based interventions are a developmentally appropriate pathway to strengthen self-regulation skills in early childhood. Derived from research on neurocognitive processes involved in self-regulation (i.e., response inhibition, executive attention, and working memory), guidelines to design movement-based interventions are developed. Movement-based interventions involve inhibition, motor planning, and body awareness. Inhibition control activities target response inhibition, motor interference control, and response modulation. Body awareness activities use proprioception to strengthen selective attention, by requiring children to pay attention to the sensations within the body. Motor planning activities are sequential, thereby promoting anticipatory awareness and working memory through movement. Movement-based interventions can be tailored to fit the various settings of the school day, such as the classroom, physical education, music class, and recess.

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