Differential Benefit: Preschool Children, Quality of Early Childhood Education Environment and Developmental Gains Important for School Readiness
Soderberg, Janet S.
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University of Washington Abstract Differential Benefit: Preschool children, quality of early childhood education environment and developmental gains important for school readiness Janet S. Soderberg Chair of the Supervisory Committee: Associate Professor Gail E. Joseph Educational Psychology This study examined children's development and learning in domains important for school readiness over the course of the 2012-2013 school year. Of particular importance was an exploration of childcare quality, school readiness, and the relationship between classroom quality characteristics and child outcomes supported by accompanying evaluative approaches. Early childhood development and the impact of classroom quality were examined in light of child and program characteristics to determine how they contribute to academic and social-emotional gains in preschool for our increasingly complex demographic of young learners. The research should help to discern the implications of current policies and practices in the state of Washington, and how best to utilize resources and build capacity in early learning communities to support children and increase their success in school. It was hypothesized that children's gains from fall to spring would be positive, and that child characteristics and classroom quality would be related to increased development and learning of children. The sample included 245 preschool children from 35 classrooms across the city of Seattle. All classrooms were included based on their participation in a citywide early learning project. Participating children were randomly selected from each classroom, with up to four boys and four girls identified for assessment. Individual child assessments included measures of language, social-emotional and cognitive skills. Classroom quality measures took the form of direct observation and record review. Hierarchical Linear Modeling was used to analyze these data, taking the nested nature of the study design into account. Results indicated a number of relationships between classroom characteristics and children's gains in the areas of letter word knowledge, math and language. Further, gains for subgroups of children, as defined by primary home language, were moderated by classroom characteristics across domains. These findings may contribute to future efforts in defining and measuring quality and school readiness as factors impacting children's successful entry into formal schooling. Through rigorous examinations of classroom quality and child outcomes, informed conclusions and decisions about Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRISs) can be made for determining positive trajectories for children.
- Education - Seattle