self-regulatory behaviors offer an attractive focus for early intervention services (see Chapter 5). Dimensions that appear particularly promising include emotional reactivity, attention and activity level, and other behavioral aspects of school readiness, such as taking turns and following directions. Facilitating the capacity for self-regulation can provide a constructive framework for addressing temperamental differences in all young children, as well as a useful strategy for promoting mastery in those with disabilities (Barton and Robins, 2000). Infants with very low birthweight are particularly vulnerable with respect to regulatory difficulties, most notably in their ability to handle different levels of intensity of interaction (Field, 1979; Goldberg et al., 1980). The hypothesized relation between early disorganization and later attention deficit hyperactivity disorder presents a rich area for investigation as a potential opportunity for preventive intervention in the early childhood years.
Interpersonal skills and relationships. Extensive research has demonstrated that the establishment of stable and secure relationships is a central feature of healthy human development, and therefore a critical goal of developmental promotion and early childhood intervention (see Chapter 6). Beginning with the infant's attachment to his or her primary caregivers and extending to the bonds that young children develop with other adults, siblings, and peers, early relationships are viewed as both the foundation and the scaffold on which cognitive, linguistic, emotional, social, and moral development unfold. Early social interactions serve as an essential vehicle for children to learn about how their actions elicit responses from others, how to explore their environment with confidence, and how to experience and deal with thoughts and feelings. Consequently, increasing numbers of program evaluators are measuring aspects of the parent-child relationship as both mediator and outcome variables (Brooks-Gunn et al., 2000; Kelly and Barnard, 2000; Zeanah et al., 2000).
Knowledge acquisition skills and problem-solving abilities. As an alternative to relying exclusively on standardized cognitive assessments, considerable value lies in an evaluation of the underlying capacities that make it possible for children to learn. Among those that are of greatest potential interest are new methods of measuring mastery motivation, problem-solving strategies, and the ability to generalize learning from one situation to another (see Chapter 5).
The War on Poverty in the 1960s and the establishment of a federal entitlement to early intervention services for infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities in the 1980s were both motivated by a belief that preschool programs for vulnerable children in the early years could enhance