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Niklas, Frank ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3777-7388 and Schneider, Wolfgang (2017): Home learning environment and development of child competencies from kindergarten until the end of elementary school. In: Contemporary Educational Psychology, Vol. 49: pp. 263-274

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Literacy and mathematical competencies are essential for a successful school career and precursors of these abilities develop in kindergarten. In addition to children’s early cognitive abilities, family characteristics such as the socioeconomic status and the home learning environment (HLE) are predictors of early child competencies. However, few studies outside the US and the UK have analyzed long-term effects of the early HLE on child development, simultaneously considering various explanatory factors. In this longitudinal study, data of 920 German children were obtained in kindergarten some 18 months before school entry (child mean age: 4;10). At this point, precursors of reading, spelling and mathematics were assessed. In addition, parents were asked to complete surveys on family characteristics. Child assessments were repeated with standardized measures of mathematical and literacy abilities at the end of Grade 1 and in the middle of Grade 4 (child mean age: 9;9), the final grade in German elementary schools. In Grade 4, teachers were also asked to provide their recommendation for children’s secondary school track (“Hauptschule” for lowest secondary school track, “Realschule”, or “Gymnasium” as highest secondary school track). HLE was not only a good predictor of early abilities, but also directly predicted competencies at the end of elementary school when precursors, former academic achievement and child and family characteristics were controlled for. In addition, children living in more favorable HLEs were more likely to be recommended for higher secondary school tracks by their teachers.

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