Semester of Graduation

Summer 2021


Master of Education (MEd)

Document Type



BACKGROUND: Executive function skills are critical in early development, as they “form the foundation for children’s ability to self-regulate” (McLelland et al., 2016, p. 242). Inhibitory control, one component of executive function, is the ability to suppress or inhibit responses to distractions when completing a task (Nguyen & Duncan, 2019). OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to improve children’s inhibitory control in the classroom through age-appropriate games, which promote controlling emotions and remaining on task. METHODS: Three target children were observed in the classroom they attend with their regular teacher. Baseline data revealed that the target children needed improvement on inhibitory control skills, which included controlling emotions and staying on task. The Inhibitory Control Intervention consisted of age-appropriate games (Uno, Perfection, Matching Cards, I Spy book) that promoted staying on task and controlling emotions independently and with small groups of peers. Data were collected using momentary time sampling for a ten-minute period during free choice center time. RESULTS: When the Inhibitory Control Intervention was in place, there was an increase in both on task behavior and controlling emotions during free-choice center time. CONCLUSIONS: Providing opportunities for children to practice inhibitory control skills can be beneficial for increasing children self-regulation skills.

Committee Chair

DiCarlo, Cynthia