Classroom quality at pre-kindergarten and kindergarten and children's social skills and behavior problems
Focusing on the continuity in the quality of classroom environments as children transition from preschool into elementary school, this study examined the associations between classroom quality in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten and children's social skills and behavior problems in kindergarten and first grade. Participants included 1175 ethnically-diverse children (43% African American) living in low-wealth rural communities of the United States. Results indicated that children who experienced higher levels of emotional and organizational classroom quality in both pre-kindergarten and kindergarten demonstrated better social skills and fewer behavior problems in both kindergarten and first grade comparing to children who did not experience higher classroom quality. The examination of the first grade results indicated that the emotional and organizational quality of pre-kindergarten classrooms was the strongest predictor of children's first grade social skills and behavior problems. The study results are discussed from theoretical, practical, and policy perspectives. (author abstract)
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