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Social competence of Mandarin-speaking immigrant children in childcare

This study aims to examine social competence of Chinese immigrant children and its associations with age, length of attendance in childcare, gender, generational status and proficiencies in English and Mandarin Chinese. One hundred Mandarin-speaking children aged three to five years from 15 childcare centres in Sydney were assessed by normed English and Mandarin tests. Childcare educators rated the children's social competence questionnaires. The results indicated that Chinese children performed well in social competence although the children aged three years had a higher anxiety level than the normative sample. Age, length of attendance in childcare, gender and generational status were associated with some subscales of the social competence measure. English level was associated negatively with hyperactivity, atypicality, withdrawal, somatisation and attention problems but positively with adaptability, social skills and functional communication. Mandarin level was associated positively with somatisation but negatively with withdrawal. Possible explanations of these associations are discussed with the literature. (author abstract)
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