Strengthening Social and Emotional competence in Young Children Who Are Socioeconomically Disadvantaged: Preschool and Kindergarten School-Based Curricula

The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS), a nationally representative sample of more than 22,000 kindergarten children, suggests that exposure to multiple poverty-related risks increases the odds that children who are socioeconomically disadvantaged will demonstrate less social and emotional competence and more behavior problems than more economically advantaged children.

Early intervention, offered at school entry when behavior is most malleable, would seem to be a beneficial and cost-effective means of reducing the gap between these higher risk children and their more advantaged peers. Effective curricula at this strategic developmental stage can interrupt the progression of early social and emo­tional problems to poor school achievement and later academic failure. Moreover, strengthening protective factors such as young children's capacity to self-regulate emotions and behaviors, problem solve, and make meaningful friendships may help buffer the negative influences associated with impoverished living situations. 

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Bibliography: Webster-Stratton, C., & Reid, M. J. (2008). In W. H. Brown, S. L. Odom & S. R. McConnell (Eds.), Social competence of young children: Risk, disability, and intervention (pp. 185-203). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.