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The association between preschool classroom quality and children's social-emotional problems

This study examined the association between early childhood classroom quality and preschool children's social skills and emotional problems. Teachers completed the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R) and the Devereux Early Childhood Assessment-Clinical Form (DECA-C). Participants included 141 preschool children from 10 kindergartens and 28 classrooms in Cairo, the capital of Egypt. The study used a mixed-methods approach to explore quantitative and qualitative data. For the qualitative data, focus groups were used to interview a group of female preschool teachers in the schools where observations were conducted. The quantitative results of the study indicated that all the ECERS-R subscales were acceptable expect for the parents and staff subscale. For the DECA-C, the Total Protective Factors (TPF) composite score (including the attachment, self-control, and initiative subscales) was above the mean, which indicates acceptable levels of social functioning. The Total Behavioural Concerns (TBC) composite score (including attention problems, aggression problems, emotional-control problems, and withdrawal/depression problems subscales) was below the mean, which refers to low levels of behavioural problems. The hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed that two subscales of the ECERS-R, namely space and furnishing, and language and reasoning predicted the TPF composite score. Also, two subscales of the ECERS-R, namely activities and interaction, significantly predicted the TBC composite score, while programme structure and parents and staff negatively predicted the TBC composite score. (author abstract)
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