TitleDeveloping together: The role of executive function and motor skills in children’s early academic lives
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsMcClelland, MM, Cameron, CE
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Pagination142 - 151
Date Published01/2019


  • Executive function (EF) and motor skills are important for early learning.
  • EF and motor skills codevelop in children in bidirectional and synergistic ways.
  • Research should examine how skills develop together to promote learning.


A considerable body of research indicates that children’s executive function (EF) skills and related school readiness constructs are important for early learning and long-term academic success. This review focuses on EF and a related construct, motor skills with a focus on visuomotor integration, as being foundational for learning, and describes how these skills codevelop in young children in bidirectional and synergistic ways. The review discusses definitional and conceptual issues, connects EF and visuomotor integration to relevant theoretical perspectives, discusses measurement issues and advancements, and reviews intervention evidence to support the malleability of these skills in young children. Discussion emphasizes how these skills develop together and suggests that research examining children’s learning from a codevelopment perspective can help promote children’s health and well-being.

Short TitleEarly Childhood Research Quarterly