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Niklas, Frank ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3777-7388; Cohrssen, Caroline ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2091-3125 and Tayler, Collette (2018): Making a difference to children’s reasoning skills before school-entry: The contribution of the home learning environment. In: Contemporary Educational Psychology, Vol. 54: pp. 79-88

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Children’s cognitive development is facilitated by interactions with more knowledgeable others. Such interactions occur in children’s families in the context of the home learning environment (HLE). Consequently, quality enhancements of the HLE may also improve children’s cognitive abilities. A non-intensive intervention was developed to improve both the HLE and children’s cognitive abilities in a sample of 116 four-year-old Australian children and their parents. The intervention consisted of parents or caregivers attending a parents’ evening at which the importance of the HLE was discussed, and an additional individual session that introduced the principles of counting and dialogic reading. The HLE and children’s fluid reasoning were assessed before and twice after the intervention. Families and their children in the intervention group showed significantly greater gains in both the quality of the HLE and children’s fluid reasoning than members of the control group and these differences were sustained over time. Consequently, non-intensive family interventions may positively impact on the HLE and children’s cognitive abilities and thus influence children’s learning trajectories.

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