Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Daryl B. Greenfield

Second Committee Member

Batya E. Elbaum

Third Committee Member

Heather A. Henderson


This study examined the relationship of two important learning behaviors, persistence and initiative, and three- to five-year-old low-income preschool children?s school readiness outcomes. The sample consisted of 196 children from two urban Head Start Centers in a large Head Start Program in the Southeast. Initiative was measured by the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment and persistence by the Preschool Learning Behavior Scale. Academic outcomes were collected through the Language and Literacy subscale and the Early Math subscale of the Galileo System for Electronic Management of Learning. Results indicated that learning behaviors may be differentially important across age and academic domain. Persistence, and not initiative, significantly predicted younger and older preschoolers? yearly gains in early math outcomes. In contrast, while persistence was a significant predictor of language and literacy yearly gains for younger preschoolers, initiative was the significant predictor for older preschoolers. These differential results add to the understanding of learning behaviors and their effect on academic outcomes in early childhood. Such findings can help teachers, parents, and those developing early childhood interventions in promoting the learning behaviors that are the most appropriate for a certain age and academic area.


Initiative; Persistence; School Readiness; Learning Behaviors