Executive Functions (EF) is a higher-order, self-regulatory cognitive processes that aid in the monitoring and control of our thought and action for goal-directed behaviors. EF is related more to success in school from preschool to university, than the IQ. In Thailand, there is no information regarding the current situation of EF skill in young children. The main objective of the present study is to develop tools and to construct the normative criteria for assessing EF skill in Thai preschooler age between 2-6 years. Thirty-two items of behavioral checklists that indicated development of EF related behaviors (i.e., inhibit, shift/cognitive flexibility, emotional control, working memory and plan/organize) were designed to be appropriate with the Thai social context. The behavioral checklist is friendly for teacher to observe their student’s behavior in the class room by using the rubric scales (0-5) which indicate the frequency of behaviors that has been observed during the past 3 months. For construction of the normative criteria, children age between 2-6 years (N=2,965) both boys (51.6%) and girls (48.4%) from all regions across the country were participated in this study.
They were selected by 3 steps simple random sampling. First, sampling the child development centers in each region of the country, then sampling the rooms and finally sampling the number of children in each room. Teachers were asked to rate child’s behavioral in the questionnaire. Data were collected and the T scores were constructed separately by sex and age of the children using the SPSS software. Our results show that children gradually improve their behavior related with EF skill during 2-6 years old. Although boy and girls have similar development at 2-2.11 years in their behavior related to EF skill, girls are more advance in EF development than boys at the age between 3-6 years. Nearly 30% of children demonstrate the delay development in behaviors related to EF skill (T score<45). Moreover, 30% of children have behavioral problems related to EF dysfunctions (T score>55). Delay EF development and/or EF dysfunction in childhood is associated with worse inhibitory control. They were more likely to be failure or drop out of school at adolescents, and less likely to be successful as adults. Thus, a child’s level of EF in early childhood likely contributes to a trajectory of success or failure in the future. Our results suggest that delay development of EF in 30% of Thai preschooler should not be ignored as EF skill can predict the quality of Thai people in the next 10-15 years, which can hinder the country’s development in the long term. It’s time to re-thinking about how to scaffold EF development in young children in order to create a new generation of Thai people who can self-directed towards the success, who have the ability to cope with the dynamics change of the world in the 21st century, and who can leads the country successfully toward the Thailand 4.0 national policy.