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The Promotion of Self-Regulation as a Means of Enhancing School Readiness and Early Achievement in Children at Risk for School Failure


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Clancy Blair, Department of Applied Psychology, New York University, 196 Mercer Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10012-9873; e-mail:


Abstract— This article reviews the literature on self-regulation and the development of school readiness and academic competence in early childhood. It focuses on relations between the development of cognitive aspects of regulation—referred to as executive functions and defined as abilities used to regulate information and to organize thinking in goal-directed activities—and the development of reactivity and regulation in stimulus-driven emotion, attention, and physiological stress response systems. It examines a bidirectional model of cognition–emotion interaction in the development of self-regulation in which top-down executive control of thought and behavior develops in reciprocal and interactive relation to bottom-up influences of emotion and stress reactivity. The bidirectional model is examined within the context of innovative preschool interventions designed to promote school readiness by promoting the development of self-regulation.