Kimberly Nesbitt

Primary Investigator, Early Childhood Initiative

Associate Professor
Phone: (603) 862-2159
Office: Human Development & Family Studies, Pettee Hall, Durham, NH 03824
Kimberly T. Nesbitt, Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Studies

My research focuses on the internal processes and external influences that enhance or disrupt the development of executive function and academic skills in early childhood. I also pursue a line of applied research that examines the educational and instructional practices that contribute to the emergence of more sophisticated cognitive abilities and enable young children from diverse backgrounds to learn and achieve in early education environments. I publish in the educational and psychological literature. In addition to teaching practicum courses in early childhood education, I am the program coordinator for UNH’s undergraduate early childhood education teacher certification program and serves on numerous early learning and childhood committees in New Hampshire.


  • Ph.D., Lifespan Developmental Psychology, North Carolina State University
  • M.S., Lifespan Developmental Psychology, North Carolina State University
  • B.A., Psychology & Human Development and Family Life, University of Kansas

Research Interests

  • Academic Achievement
  • Applied Research
  • At-Risk Children/Youth
  • Child Psychology/Development
  • Cognition
  • Early Childhood Development
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Effectiveness Research
  • Statistics
  • Teacher Education
  • Teacher Effectiveness

Courses Taught

  • HDFS 525: Human Development
  • HDFS 635: Tch&Lrn Early Childhd Settings
  • HDFS 695: Independent Study
  • HDFS 707: Practicum
  • HDFS 785: Seminar for Student Teachers
  • HDFS 786: Seminar for Student Teachers
  • HDFS 788: Student Teachng Young Children
  • HDFS 797/897: Adv/Teach w the Brain in Mind
  • HDFS 911: Graduate Internship
  • INCO 590: Rsrch Exp/Family Studies

Selected Publications

Coelho, V., Åström, F., Nesbitt, K., Sjöman, M., Farran, D., Björck-Åkesson, E., . . . Pinto, A. I. (2021). Preschool practices in Sweden, Portugal, and the United States. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 55, 79-96. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2020.11.004

Baron, A., Malmberg, L. -E., Evangelou, M., Nesbitt, K., & Farran, D. (2020). The Play’s the Thing: Associations between Make-Believe Play and Self-Regulation in the Tools of the Mind Early Childhood Curriculum. Early Education and Development, 31(1), 1-18. doi:10.1080/10409289.2019.1613327

Dickinson, D. K., Collins, M. F., Nesbitt, K., Toub, T. S., Hassinger-Das, B., Hadley, E. B., . . . Golinkoff, R. M. (2019). Effects of Teacher-Delivered Book Reading and Play on Vocabulary Learning and Self-Regulation among Low-Income Preschool Children. Journal of Cognition and Development, 20(2), 136-164. doi:10.1080/15248372.2018.1483373

Dickinson, D. K., Nesbitt, K. T., & Hofer, K. G. (2019). Effects of language on initial reading: Direct and indirect associations between code and language from preschool to first grade. EARLY CHILDHOOD RESEARCH QUARTERLY, 49, 122-137. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2019.04.005

Dickinson, D. K., Nesbitt, K. T., Collins, M. F., Hadley, E. B., Newman, K., Rivera, B. L., . . . Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2019). Teaching for breadth and depth of vocabulary knowledge: Learning from explicit and implicit instruction and the storybook texts. EARLY CHILDHOOD RESEARCH QUARTERLY, 47, 341-356. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2018.07.012

Fuhs, M. W., Nesbitt, K. T., & O’Rear, C. D. (2018). Approximate Number System Task Performance: Associations With Domain-General and Domain-Specific Cognitive Skills in Young Children. Journal of Numerical Cognition, 4(3), 590-612. doi:10.5964/jnc.v4i3.141

Fuhs, M. W., Nesbitt, K. T., & Jackson, H. (2018). Chronic Absenteeism and Preschool Children's Executive Functioning Skills Development. JOURNAL OF EDUCATION FOR STUDENTS PLACED AT RISK, 23(1-2), 39-52. doi:10.1080/10824669.2018.1438201

Nesbitt, K. T., Fuhs, M. W., & Farran, D. C. (2018). Stability and instability in the co-development of mathematics, executive function skills, and visual-motor integration from prekindergarten to first grade. EARLY CHILDHOOD RESEARCH QUARTERLY, 46, 262-274. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2018.02.003

Toub, T. S., Hassinger-Das, B., Nesbitt, K. T., Ilgaz, H., Weisberg, D. S., Hirsh-Pasek, K., . . . Dickinson, D. K. (2018). The language of play: Developing preschool vocabulary through play following shared book-reading. EARLY CHILDHOOD RESEARCH QUARTERLY, 45, 1-17. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2018.01.010

Lipsey, M. W., Nesbitt, K. T., Farran, D. C., Dong, N., Fuhs, M. W., & Wilson, S. J. (2017). Learning-Related Cognitive Self-Regulation Measures for Prekindergarten Children: A Comparative Evaluation of the Educational Relevance of Selected Measures. JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 109(8), 1084-1102. doi:10.1037/edu0000203

Farran, D. C., Meador, D., Christopher, C., Nesbitt, K. T., & Bilbrey, L. E. (2017). Data-Driven Improvement in Prekindergarten Classrooms: Report From a Partnership in an Urban District. CHILD DEVELOPMENT, 88(5), 1466-1479. doi:10.1111/cdev.12906

Hadley, E. B., Dickinson, D. K., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R. M., & Nesbitt, K. T. (2016). Examining the Acquisition of VocabularyKnowledge Depth AmongPreschool Students. READING RESEARCH QUARTERLY, 51(2), 181-198. doi:10.1002/rrq.130

Nesbitt, K. T., Farran, D. C., & Fuhs, M. W. (2015). Executive Function Skills and Academic Achievement Gains in Prekindergarten: Contributions of Learning-Related Behaviors. DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, 51(7), 865-878. doi:10.1037/dev0000021

Fuhs, M. W., Farran, D. C., & Nesbitt, K. T. (2015). Prekindergarten Children's Executive Functioning Skills and Achievement Gains: The Utility of Direct Assessments and Teacher Ratings. JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 107(1), 207-221. doi:10.1037/a0037366

Fuhs, M. W., Nesbitt, K. T., Farran, D. C., & Dong, N. (2014). Longitudinal associations between executive functioning and academic skills across content areas.. Dev Psychol, 50(6), 1698-1709. doi:10.1037/a0036633

Fuhs, M. W., Farran, D. C., & Nesbitt, K. T. (2013). Preschool Classroom Processes as Predictors of Children's Cognitive Self-Regulation Skills Development. SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGY QUARTERLY, 28(4), 347-359. doi:10.1037/spq0000031

Nesbitt, K. T., Baker-Ward, L., & Willoughby, M. T. (2013). Executive function mediates socio-economic and racial differences in early academic achievement. EARLY CHILDHOOD RESEARCH QUARTERLY, 28(4), 774-783. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2013.07.005