School readiness. Integrating cognition and emotion in a neurobiological conceptualization of children's functioning at school entry

Am Psychol. 2002 Feb;57(2):111-27. doi: 10.1037//0003-066x.57.2.111.


The author examines the construct of emotionality, developmental relations between cognition and emotion, and neural plasticity and frontal cortical functioning and proposes a developmental neurobiological model of children's school readiness. Direct links are proposed among emotionality, use-dependent synaptic stabilization related to the prefrontal cortex, the development of executive function abilities, and academic and social competence in school settings. The author considers research on the efficacy of preschool compensatory education in promoting school readiness and recommends that programs expand to include curricula directly addressing social and emotional competence. Research should focus on the ontogeny of self-regulation and successful adaptation to the socially defined role of student, the development of prevention research programs to reflect this orientation, and interdisciplinary collaborations that integrate scientific methods and questions in the pursuit of comprehensive knowledge of human developmental processes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior / physiology*
  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Child Development*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Concept Formation
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Schools*
  • Social Adjustment
  • Temperament / physiology