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1 - Beyond the Child: Measurement Approaches to School Readiness that are Relevant for Early Childhood Professionals

Sat, March 23, 4:15 to 5:45pm, Hilton Baltimore, Floor: Level 2, Key 11

Session Type: Paper Symposium

Integrative Statement

Defining school readiness isn’t easy, and the term may initially invoke the question “What do children know and what can they do?” Yet international and government organizations agree that the best definition encompasses more than just children’s academic skills (Administration on Children Youth and Families/Head Start Bureau, 2015; Cameron, 2018). For example, UNICEF defines school readiness as “three interlinked dimensions…ready children, ready schools, ready families” (Rebello Britto & Limlingan, 2012, p. 3). Additionally, the importance of both teachers’ and children’s social-emotional learning (SEL) has become clear (Greenberg et al., 2003; McClelland, Tominey, Schmitt, & Duncan, 2017). Still, researchers can do more to make SEL including self-regulatory processes relevant for early childhood professionals in the context of school readiness.

This session features four studies of school readiness measurement, thinking particularly about relevance for early childhood professionals. Paper 1 presents preliminary norms on a widely-used research task of behavioral self-regulation, the Head-Toes-Knees-Shoulders (HTKS), emphasizing how norms can help researchers assist school systems with readiness assessment. Paper 2 uses a measure common to school psychologists (the NEPSY or NeuroPsychological Assessment), to show that low-income children’s language comprehension contributes significantly to whether they attain developmental norms on theory of mind in early elementary school. Paper 3 shows that teachers’ readiness to implement an SEL intervention is predicted by their emotion regulation and psychological safety. Paper 4 shows that resources and risk factors in preschoolers’ proximal neighborhoods and dyadic teacher-child interactions in the classroom combine to support their self-regulation development.

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