This study is aimed to confirm and explore the likely presence, in moderately preterm children at preschool age, of impairments related to cognitive skills, which are requirements for learning success. Specifically, they are those related to language, metacognition, memory, orientation and motor coordination, early ability of mathematics, writing and reading, self-regulation, adaptation and collaboration. 30 moderately preterm children (gestational age mean: 34 weeks; low-birth weight mean: 2.100 g., sd = 350 g.) without need for neonatal intensive care, without dysmaturity or congenital malformations and assessed at mean age of five years and two months, were compared with 30 term-born children (gestational age mean: 40 weeks) without neonatal medical complications. The IPDA questionnaire for the early identification of learning difficulties (Terreni et al., 2002), has been administered to teachers of child involved in the research, to investigate on precursors of prerequisites for school learning. The results show that the moderately preterm children at preschool age, compared with the group of term-born children, are characterised by lowest scores in metacognition [U(n1 e n2=30) = .21, p = .04], other cognitive abilities (related to memory, orientation and motor coordination) U(n1 e n2=30) = 1.2, p = .03], early ability of mathematics [U(n1 e n2=30) = 1.3, p = .04], and in total score [U(n1 e n2=30) = 1.8, p = .04]. Such data suggest the need for hypothesising training paths, aimed to prevent likely school failures.
Keywords: Preterm birth, precursors learning difficulties, prerequisites for learning, preschool age.