Planning in Middle Childhood: Early Predictors and Later Outcomes


  • This manuscript is based on data collected in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, a study supported by NICHD through 10 cooperative agreement (U10) grants to 10 universities and a U01 grant to a data center at RTI International. The grants called for scientific collaboration between the grantees, their subcontractors, and NICHD investigators. The writing of the paper was partially supported by the Institute for Public Research of the CNA Corporation. The content of this paper is solely the responsibility of the named authors and does not represent the official views of the funders.


Data from 1,364 children and families who participated in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development were analyzed to track the early correlates and later academic outcomes of planning during middle childhood. Maternal education, through its effect on parenting quality when children were 54 months old, predicts their concurrent performance on sustained attention, inhibition, and short-term verbal memory tests. This performance predicts planning in first grade, which predicts third-grade reading and mathematics attainment, but not the rate of growth in academic skills from first to fifth grades. This path was also found when the same parenting, cognitive, and academic constructs were measured at later time points.