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More than words: The relations between teacher-child interactions, classroom context, and Latino DLLs' school readiness

Increasingly, studies have shown that early childhood education programs are an effective way to promote young children's school readiness and long-term outcomes. However, there is still debate in the field about what constitutes a high-quality preschool experience for DLLs to foster their optimal positive development. To better serve DLLs, research needs to focus on how having access to two languages uniquely affects their learning. This dissertation examined the relations between teacher-child interactions, a consistently cited feature of high-quality preschools, characteristics of classroom context, and DLLs' school readiness skills. The three studies in this dissertation used multiple methods but all focused on low-income Latino DLLs. Study 1 utilized the latest Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES), a secondary data set representing the population of children who entered Head Start in the U.S. for the first time in fall 2009. In Study 2 and 3, data were taken from a local Head Start program that consisted of 11 classrooms where more information was collected on DLLs' initial English and Spanish skills and teacher language ideologies.The first set of findings discussed the positive associations between teachers' speaking Spanish and students' socio-emotional skills but not language outcomes. The second set of findings show how higher concentrations of DLLs were linked to lower language and socio-emotional outcomes. Implications for preschool programs and teacher professional development are discussed as well as potential directions for future research. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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