School Readiness and Children's Developmental Status.

Nicholas Zill, Mary Collins, Jerry West, Elvie Germino Hausken

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Summary:

In order to provide data to help schools respond to the diversity in the backgrounds and educational needs of children entering school, a U.S. Department of Education study asked parents of 3- to 5-year-old children who had not yet started kindergarten about their children's accomplishments that indicated emerging literacy and numeracy skills and their children's difficulties in physical activity or attention. Results indicated that the percentage of children displaying signs of emerging literacy and small-motor skills increased with age. Developmental difficulties showed small changes across ages. More girls than boys demonstrated literacy and small-motor skills. This gender difference was small, however. Hispanic preschoolers showed fewer signs of emerging literacy, exhibited more difficulties with physical activity or attention, and were in less good general health than white or black children. The study identified five family risk factors: (1) mother has less than a high school education; (2) family is below the poverty line; (3) mother speaks a language other than English as her primary language; (4) mother was unmarried at the time of the child's birth; and (5) only one parent is present in the home. These risk factors, especially low maternal education and minority language status, were found to be associated with fewer accomplishments and more difficulties in children. Attending Head Start, prekindergarten, or other center-based preschool programs has beneficial effects on emerging literacy and numeracy in 4-year-olds from both high- and low-risk family backgrounds. However, preschool attendance does not appear to ameliorate behavioral, speech, or health difficulties of preschoolers. 

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Bibliographic Information:

Nicholas Zill, Mary Collins, Jerry West, Elvie Germino Hausken. School Readiness and Children's Developmental Status. (1995). ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education: Champaign, IL. (2 pages).

Sponsoring Agency: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement

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Formats Available: Printed Material

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(Available online. )

ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education
University of Illinois
51 Gerty Drive
Champaign, IL
61820

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