Morning-evening Types İn Kindergarten, Time-of-day And Performance On Basic Learning Skills

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Abstract

Research on the combined effect of diurnal type and time of day on school/ preschool performance is still scarce, probably because until recently there were no non-invasive questionnaires measuring diurnal type in younger children. To our knowledge, in the literature studies on the so-called synchrony effect only exist for adolescents and adults and no work has been conducted on prepubertal children. This study investigated in kindergarten the relationship between morning-evening types with time-of-day and performance on a battery of tests covering basic skills involved in preschool learning. The sample comprised 80 children between 5 and 6 years old (M = 5.42, SD ± 0.495): 36 morning (45%) and 44 evening (55%) types, classified according to the Children’s Chronotype Questionnaire (Werner et al., 2009; PT version, Couto et al., 2014). The children completed a battery of tests related to kindergarten learning (Vitória de La Cruz, PT version, 2012) at four times in the kindergarten day (9:30-10:00; 11:30-12:00; 13:30-14:00; 15:00-15:30). Analyses indicated: an asynchrony effect on the Constancy of Form test, as M-E types performed better in their non-optimal moments, reaching significance in M-types; time-of-day effects in the Verbal (13:30-14:00 > 11:30-12:00), Quantitative Concepts (15:00-15:30 > 9:30-10:00/ 11:30-12:00/ 13: 30-14:00) and Position in Space (11:30-12:00 > 13:30-14:00) tests. These results suggest the “synchrony effect” may be a simplistic hypothesis, and better performances are not necessarily associated to early times in the school day. Replication studies are necessary.

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Abstract

Research on the combined effect of diurnal type and time of day on school/ preschool performance is still scarce, probably because until recently there were no non-invasive questionnaires measuring diurnal type in younger children. To our knowledge, in the literature studies on the so-called synchrony effect only exist for adolescents and adults and no work has been conducted on prepubertal children. This study investigated in kindergarten the relationship between morning-evening types with time-of-day and performance on a battery of tests covering basic skills involved in preschool learning. The sample comprised 80 children between 5 and 6 years old (M = 5.42, SD ± 0.495): 36 morning (45%) and 44 evening (55%) types, classified according to the Children’s Chronotype Questionnaire (Werner et al., 2009; PT version, Couto et al., 2014). The children completed a battery of tests related to kindergarten learning (Vitória de La Cruz, PT version, 2012) at four times in the kindergarten day (9:30-10:00; 11:30-12:00; 13:30-14:00; 15:00-15:30). Analyses indicated: an asynchrony effect on the Constancy of Form test, as M-E types performed better in their non-optimal moments, reaching significance in M-types; time-of-day effects in the Verbal (13:30-14:00 > 11:30-12:00), Quantitative Concepts (15:00-15:30 > 9:30-10:00/ 11:30-12:00/ 13: 30-14:00) and Position in Space (11:30-12:00 > 13:30-14:00) tests. These results suggest the “synchrony effect” may be a simplistic hypothesis, and better performances are not necessarily associated to early times in the school day. Replication studies are necessary.

Keywords