Research Findings: This study examined the contributions of motor skills and executive function (EF) to early achievement. Participants were 7,797 children (3,889 girls) between 36 and 72 months of age from 6 countries in East Asia and the Pacific. Fine and gross motor skills, EF, language and literacy achievement, and mathematics achievement were evaluated using the East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales, a tool that assesses child development in 7 domains. Children's caregivers provided demographic information. There were 3 salient findings. First, gross and fine motor skills predicted both language and literacy and mathematics achievement. Second, in general, fine motor skills contributed more to the prediction of early achievement than gross motor skills. However, there were no differences between the contributions of fine and gross motor skills to the prediction of early language and literacy in Papua New Guinea or early mathematics in Timor-Leste. Third, EF partially mediated the relation between both early achievement and gross and fine motor skills in the overall sample, Cambodia, and Timor-Leste and fully mediated the association of gross motor skills and early achievement in China, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, and Vanuatu. Practice or Policy: Implications of the findings for early childhood education are discussed. Copyright © 2018 Taylor & Francis.
Papua New Guinea