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Associations of preschool type and teacher-child relational quality with young children's social-emotional competence
Garner, Pamela W., April, 2014
Early Education and Development, 25(3), 399-420

This study examined associations of preschool type (i.e., urban and suburban Head Start and university-affiliated center) and teacher-child variables with positive and negative child outcomes among 145 preschoolers (74 boys). Differences emerged across preschools, with urban Head Start children scoring lowest on the emotional competence measures and university-affiliated preschoolers experiencing less peer victimization than urban and suburban Head Start preschoolers. Differences across preschool types were also found for the teacher-child variables, such that teacher-child closeness was lower and teacher-child conflict and dependence were highest in the urban Head Start preschool. Regression analyses revealed significant and meaningful interactions between preschool type and teacher-child relational quality in the prediction of children's social-emotional outcomes. Teacher-child conflict was negatively associated with emotion regulation and teacher-child dependence was associated with the highest levels of emotion regulation, but only for university-affiliated preschoolers. Suburban Head Start preschoolers experienced less prosocial attention than urban Head Start preschoolers, but only when teacher-child closeness was high. Teacher-child closeness was also a negative predictor of urban Head Start preschoolers' prosocial attention. (author abstract)

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Effects of social stories on the behaviors of typically developing preschoolers
McNelly, Mary E., 2013
NHSA Dialog, 16(4), 48-63

Challenging behaviors are not exclusive to children with disabilities; they can also affect typically developing children. This study used a multiple baseline design across participants to look at how a social story intervention affected the challenging behaviors (e.g., temper tantrums, hitting, yelling) of three typically developing preschoolers. Overall, results showed that the social stories decreased challenging behaviors from baseline to intervention. Children also experienced an increase in prosocial behaviors and social validity indicated that teachers believed the social story was effective in teaching social skills. This study added to the existing literature on social stories by researching their effect on a population that had not yet been studied. These findings suggest that social stories can be effective interventions for typically developing preschoolers who demonstrate challenging behaviors. (author abstract)

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Living in non-parental care moderates effects of prekindergarten experiences on externalizing behavior problems in school
Lipscomb, Shannon T. , May, 2014
Children and Youth Services Review, 40(), 41-50

The current study examines the effects of prekindergarten quality and quantity on externalizing behavior problems for children living in non-parental care, compared to other children from socioeconomically at-risk backgrounds. Data were obtained from the Head Start Impact Study. Non-parental care was defined as a primary caregiver other than a biological, adoptive, or step-parent. The sample included 3029 children who attended center-based prekindergarten. Teacher-child conflict and more hours of prekindergarten predicted increased externalizing behavior problems for the full sample. Teacher-child closeness and overall process quality were only associated with externalizing behavior for children in non-parental care. Findings are discussed within a goodness-of-fit perspective in which the vulnerabilities of children in non-parental care explain how they respond to their prekindergarten experiences. (author abstract)

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Teacher beliefs and practices relating to development in preschool: Importance placed on social-emotional behaviours and skills
Hollingsworth, Heidi, December, 2013
Early Child Development and Care, 183(12), 1758-1781

Preschool teachers' beliefs relating to the importance of social-emotional competence and teacher practices that support children's competence were investigated through surveys and focus groups. Survey results indicated that Head Start and public school pre-K teachers placed higher importance on social-emotional behaviours and skills than on early math and language and literacy behaviours and skills and reported a variety of practices to promote prosocial skills, pretend play, and friendships. Practices that support prosocial skills ranged from setting the tone of the social environment to responding to situations that arose. Similarly, practices that support pretend play focused on setting up pretend play scenarios and helping children play in those scenarios. Finally, practices to support friendships involved practices that may set the stage for friendship development, facilitating dyadic and small group interactions, and involving parents. Results are discussed in terms of connections with previous research and developmentally appropriate practice recommendations. (author abstract)

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Teachers' supports and children's engagement: Testing for bidirectional associations
Curby, Timothy W., 2014
Charlottesville: University of Virginia, Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning.

Our recent study examined links between teachers' supports for learning and children's engagement over the course of a typical preschool day. Two aspects of teachers' behaviors were explored: emotional and organizational supports. Four aspects of children's engagement were examined: positive engagement with teachers, peers, and tasks, as well as negative engagement. We found teacher-provided supports were related to children's engagement later in the school day. In two instances, there was a bidirectional relationship in which children's behaviors influenced teachers' later provision of emotional and organizational supports. (author abstract)

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The validity of the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment for culturally and linguistically diverse Head Start children
Bulotsky-Shearer, Rebecca J., Q4 2013
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28(4), 794-807

The Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA) is a social-emotional assessment widely used by early childhood educational programs to inform early identification and intervention efforts. However, its construct validity is not well-established in independent samples of children from low-income backgrounds. We examined the construct validity of the teacher report of the DECA using a series of confirmatory factor analyses, exploratory factor analyses, and the Rasch partial credit model in a large sample of culturally and linguistically diverse Head Start children (N = 5,197). Findings provided some evidence for consistency in the factor structure of the three Protective Factors subscales (Initiative, Self-Control, and Attachment); however, the factor structure of the Behavioral Concerns subscale was not replicated in our sample and demonstrated poor fit to these data. Findings suggested that the 10 items of the published Behavioral Concerns subscale did not comprise a unidimensional construct, but rather, were better represented by two factors (externalizing and internalizing behavior). The use of the total Behavioral Concerns score as a screening tool to identify emotional and behavioral problems in diverse samples of preschool children from low-income backgrounds was not supported, especially for internalizing behavior. Implications for the consequential validity of the DECA for use as a screening tool in early childhood programs serving diverse populations of children and directions for future research are discussed. (author abstract)

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Research Connections is supported by grant #90YE0104 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the National Center for Children in Poverty and the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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