Early Home Learning Environment Predicts Children’s 5th Grade Academic Skills
Publisher: Applied Developmental Science (online ahead of print, subscription required)
The authors examined whether the early learning environment predicts children’s 5th grade skills in 2,204 families from ethnically diverse, low-income backgrounds; tested the mediating roles of children’s pre-kindergarten school-related skills and later learning environment; and asked whether lagged associations generalize across White, Black, Hispanic English-speaking, and Hispanic Spanish-speaking samples. Children’s early learning environment comprised measures of literacy activities, the quality of mothers’ engagements with children, and learning materials assessed at 14 months, 2 and 3 years, and at pre-kindergarten; learning environments were again assessed in 5th grade. At pre-kindergarten and in 5th grade, children were assessed on pre-academic and academic skills respectively. Early learning environments predicted children’s 5th grade academic skills, and children’s pre-kindergarten skills and 5th grade learning environment mediated longitudinal associations. The early learning environment supports the emergence of pre-academic skills that are stable into early adolescence, and pathways generalize across ethnic/racial groups.