Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 419–427 | Cite as

Home Learning Environment and Concept Formation: A Family Intervention Study with Kindergarten Children

Article

Abstract

Children’s cognitive development has a neural basis, yet children’s learning is facilitated by interactions with more knowledgeable others. Young children experience such interactions in the context of the home learning environment (HLE), when parents support children’s thinking and learning during everyday activities. Consequently, one way to improve children’s cognitive abilities may be to enhance the quality of the HLE. In this study a non-intensive intervention was developed to improve both, HLE and children’s cognitive abilities. The sample consisted of 113 Australian 4-year-old children and their parents. All parents were invited to participate in a two-part intervention that included firstly attending a group meeting at which information regarding the HLE was provided, and secondly participating in an additional individual session that introduced the principles of counting and dialogic reading. HLE and children’s concept formation, as an indicator of fluid reasoning, were assessed before and after the intervention. Families and children in the intervention group showed significantly greater gains than the control group, both in the quality of HLD and the children's concept formation than members of the control group. Results indicate that non-intensive family interventions may positively impact on HLE and children’s fluid reasoning.

Keywords

Home learning environment (HLE) Concept formation Fluid reasoning Non-intensive intervention Preschool children Australian sample 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by a fellowship within the Postdoctoral Programme of the German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD).

References

  1. Anders, Y., Rossbach, H.-G., Weinert, S., Ebert, S., Kuger, S., Lehrl, S., & von Maurice, J. (2012). Home and preschool learning environments and their relations to the development of early numeracy skills. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27, 231–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Au, J., Sheehan, E., Tsai, N., Duncan, G. J., Buschkuehl, M., & Jaeggi, S. M. (2015). Improving fluid intelligence with training on working memory: A meta-analysis. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22, 366–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bradley, R. H., & Caldwell, B. M. (1980). The relation of home environment, cognitive competence, and IQ among males and females. Child Development, 51, 1140–1148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burgess, S. R. (2002). The influence of speech perception, oral language ability, the home literacy environment, and pre-reading knowledge on the growth of phonological sensitivity: A one-year longitudinal investigation. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 15, 709–737.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cohrssen, C., Niklas, F., & Tayler, C. (in press). ‘Is that what we do?’ Using a conversation analytic approach to highlight the contribution of dialogic reading strategies to educator-child interactions during storybook reading in two early childhood settings. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. doi:10.1177/1468798415592008
  6. Cohrssen, C., Tayler, C., & Cloney, D. (2014). Playing with maths: Implications for early childhood mathematics teaching from an implementation study in Melbourne, Australia. Education 313: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education. doi:10.1080/03004279.2013.848916
  7. Cooke, B. D., & Buchholz, D. (2005). Mathematical communication in the classroom: A teacher makes a difference. Early Childhood Education Journal, 32(6), 365–369. doi:10.1007/s10643-005-0007-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations. (2009). Belonging, being and becoming: The early years learning framework for Australia (EYLF). Canberra: Council of Australian Governments (COAG).Google Scholar
  9. Dodd, L. (1984). Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy. Wellington: Mallinson Rendel.Google Scholar
  10. Doyle, B. G., & Bramwell, W. (2006). Promoting emergent literacy and social-emotional learning through dialogic reading. The Reading Teacher, 59(6), 554–564.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Evans, J. J., Floyd, R. G., McGrew, K. S., & Leforgee, M. H. (2001). The relations between measures of Cattell–Horn–Carroll (CHC) cognitive abilities and reading achievement during childhood and adolescence. School Psychology Review, 31(2), 246–262.Google Scholar
  12. Floyd, R. G., Evans, J. J., & McGrew, K. S. (2003). Relations between measures of Cattell–Horn–Carroll (CHC) cognitive abilities and mathematics achievement across the school-age years. Psychology in the Schools, 40(2), 155–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Frumkin, L. A. (2013). Young children’s cognitive achievement: Home learning environment, language and ethnic background. Journal of Early Childhood Research. doi:10.1177/1476718X13482272.Google Scholar
  14. Gauvain, M. (2001). The social context of cognitive development. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  15. Gelman, R., & Butterworth, B. (2005). Number and language: How are they related? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(1), 6–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gelman, R., & Gallistel, C. (1978). The child’s understanding of number (pp. 77–82). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Gunderson, E., & Levine, S. (2011). Some types of parent number talk count more than others: Relations between parents’ input and children’s cardinal-number knowledge. Developmental Science, 14(5), 1021–1032.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Howell, S. C., & Kemp, C. R. (2010). Assessing preschool number sense: Skills demonstrated by children prior to school entry. Educational Psychology, 30(4), 411–429.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Klauer, K. J. (1996). Teaching inductive reasoning: Some theory and three experimental studies. Learning and Instruction, 6(1), 37–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Klauer, K. J., & Phye, G. D. (2008). Inductive reasoning. A training approach. Review of Educational Research, 78, 85–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Klauer, K. J., Willmes, K., & Phye, G. J. (2002). Inducing inductive reasoning: Does it transfer to Fluid Intelligence? Contemporary Educational Psychology, 27, 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kleemans, T., Peeters, M., Segers, E., & Verhoeven, L. (2012). Child and home predictors of early numeracy skills in kindergarten. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27(3), 471–477.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kroesbergen, E. H., & van Luit, J. E. H. (2003). Mathematics interventions for children with special educational needs: A meta-analysis. Remedial and Special Education, 24(2), 97–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lukie, I. K., Skwarchuk, S.-L., LeFevre, J.-A., & Sowinski, C. (2014). The role of child Interests and collaborative parent–child interactions in fostering numeracy and literacy development in Canadian homes. Early Childhood Education Journal, 42(4), 251–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mather, N., & Woodcock, R. (2001). Woodcock–Johnson III test of cognitive abilities. Examiner’s manual. Itasca, IL: Riverside.Google Scholar
  26. McGrew, K., Woodcock, R., & Mather, N. (2001). Woodcock–Johnson III technical manual. Itasca, IL: Riverside.Google Scholar
  27. Molfese, V., DiLalla, L., & Bunce, D. (1997). Prediction of the intelligence test scores of 3- to 8-year-old children by home environment, socioeconomic status, and biomedical risks. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 43, 219–234.Google Scholar
  28. Niklas, F., Cohrssen, C., & Tayler, C. (in press). Improving preschoolers’ numerical abilities by enhancing the home numeracy environment. Early Education and Development. Google Scholar
  29. Niklas, F., & Schneider, W. (2013). Home Literacy Environment and the beginning of reading and writing. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 38, 40–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Niklas, F., & Schneider, W. (2014). Casting the die before the die is cast: The importance of the home numeracy environment for preschool children. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 29(3), 327–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Niklas, F., & Schneider, W. (2015). With a little help: Improving kindergarten children’s vocabulary by enhancing the home literacy environment. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 28(4), 491–508. doi:10.1007/s11145-014-9534-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Schmiedeler, S., Niklas, F., & Schneider, W. (2014). Symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and home learning environment (HLE): Findings from a longitudinal study. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 29(3), 467–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Schneider, W., Niklas, F., & Schmiedeler, S. (2014). Intellectual development from early childhood to early adulthood: The impact of early IQ differences on stability and change over time. Learning and Individual Differences, 32, 156–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sénéchal, M., & LeFevre, J.-A. (2002). Parental involvement in the development of children’s reading skill: A five-year longitudinal study. Child Development, 73(2), 445–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sénéchal, M., & Young, L. (2008). The effect of family literacy interventions on children’s acquisition of reading from kindergarten to grade 3: A meta-analytic review. Review of Educational Research, 78(4), 880–907.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sheldon, S., & Epstein, J. (2005). Involvement counts: Family and community partnerships and mathematics achievement. The Journal of Educational Research, 98(4), 196–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Starkey, P., & Klein, A. (2000). Fostering parental support for children’s mathematical development: An intervention with Head Start families. Early Education and Development, 11(5), 659–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Swanson, H. L., & Hoskyn, M. (1998). Experimental intervention research on students with learning disabilities: A meta-analysis of treatment outcomes. Review of Educational Research, 6(3), 277–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. US Department of Education. (2007). Dialogic reading. Washington: Institute of Education Sciences; National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance; What Works Clearinghouse.Google Scholar
  40. Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher mental process. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Watkins, M. W., & Smith, L. G. (2013). Long-term stability of the Wechsler intelligence scale for children—Fourth edition. Psychological Assessment, 25, 477–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank Niklas
    • 1
  • Caroline Cohrssen
    • 1
  • Collette Tayler
    • 1
  1. 1.Melbourne Graduate School of EducationUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations