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ERIC Number: EJ884871
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-May
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 60
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
The Social Competence of Latino Kindergartners and Growth in Mathematical Understanding
Galindo, Claudia; Fuller, Bruce
Developmental Psychology, v46 n3 p579-592 May 2010
We know that social competence contributes to young children's adaptation to, and cognitive learning within, classroom settings. Yet initial evidence is mixed on the social competencies that Latino children bring to kindergarten and the extent to which these skills advance cognitive growth. Building from ecocultural and developmental-risk theory, this paper shows children's social competence to be adaptive to the normative expectations and cognitive requirements of culturally bounded settings in both the home and classroom. Latino socialization in the home may yield social competencies that teachers value rather than reflect "risk factors" that constrain children's school readiness. We draw on the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, kindergarten cohort (N = 19,590) to detail 5 social competencies at entry to school--self-control, interpersonal skills, approaches to learning, internalizing and externalizing problem behaviors--and to examine variability among Latino subgroups. We then test the extent to which baseline variation in social competence accounts for children's cognitive growth during the kindergarten year. We find that Latino children from poor, but not middle-class, families display weaker social competencies vis-a-vis White children (all relationships p [less than or equal to] 0.05). Social competence levels contribute to Latino children's cognitive growth, which is shaped most strongly by positive approaches to learning. The disparities in competencies observed for Latino children from poor families, relative to White children, are significant yet much smaller than gaps in baseline levels of mathematical understanding. We discuss how the consonance or mismatch between competencies acquired at home and those valued by teachers must consider cultural differences, social-class position, and variation among diverse Latino subgroups. (Contains 15 footnotes and 4 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Kindergarten
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A