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Children’s Social and Emotional Functioning and Academic Success in Preschool: the Role of Internalizing Problems and Adaptive Skills

Abstract

The present study investigated the role of children’s social and emotional functioning on their academic success in preschool. Data was collected from 81 children, and their teachers, in preschool programs in a Western Canadian municipality. Children completed measures of receptive language and academic functioning; teachers independently completed a standardized measure of children’s social and emotional functioning. Results indicated that children’s adaptive skills in the fall of preschool significantly predicted their academic scores in the fall and spring of their preschool year, with higher adaptive skills predicting higher academic scores. Children’s levels of internalizing problems were not found to significantly predict their academic skills during the preschool year. Children’s average levels of adaptive skills and internalizing problems significantly increased over the school year. This study highlights the connection between children’s social and emotional functioning and academic skills in preschool. Given these findings, early learning programs are encouraged to include components that promote the development of children’s adaptive skills, in addition to academic skills.

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Funding

This study was funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada—Alberta/NWT Region.

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Correspondence to Meghan A. Walker.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Walker, M.A., Rinaldi, C. Children’s Social and Emotional Functioning and Academic Success in Preschool: the Role of Internalizing Problems and Adaptive Skills. Contemp School Psychol 24, 25–33 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40688-019-00232-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40688-019-00232-5

Keywords

  • Early childhood development
  • School readiness
  • Social and emotional functioning
  • Adaptive skills
  • Internalizing problems