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See detailThe Importance of Socio-Emotional Skills and Behaviour in Preschool for Later Outcomes
Aleksic, Gabrijela UL; Christine, Merrell; Peter, Tymms

Scientific Conference (2019, April 18)

Background to the Study In order to meet the socio-economic challenges of the 21st century, a blend of cognitive and socio-emotional skills is required (Temple, 2002). Socio-emotional skills are important ... [more ▼]

Background to the Study In order to meet the socio-economic challenges of the 21st century, a blend of cognitive and socio-emotional skills is required (Temple, 2002). Socio-emotional skills are important for personal well-being, life satisfaction, healthy life styles, active citizenship and safer societies (OECD, 2015). No study in Serbia has investigated the development of young children’s socio-emotional skills and behaviour, and the relationship with academic progress in Serbia before and this directly responds to the urgent call for more information concerning the Serbian preschool education (Baucal et al., 2016). The findings are of broader relevance to other countries; as noted in the OECD (2015) report, socio-emotional development continues through late childhood and adolescence which gives a space for intervention programmes that can help reduce social inequalities among children. Theoretical Framework Socio-emotional skills are a range of competences including emotion knowledge, emotional and behavioural regulatory abilities and social skills (Denham, 2006). When children enter school and have positive peer and teacher interactions, they will develop more positive attitudes towards school tasks, engage more into school activities, be more persistent and perform higher (e.g., Arnold et al., 2012; Fantuzzo et al., 2007). Furthermore, studies have shown that children with behavioural difficulties such as inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity display more delinquent behaviour as adolescents and achieve academically lower than their peers (e.g., Frazier et al., 2007; Merrell et al., 2017). Data In this empirical study we explored the links between socio-emotional skills, behaviour, mathematics and literacy performance of preschool children in Serbia over the course of 14 months. Teachers rated 159 children (51% of girls) aged 5-8 by Personal, social and emotional development scale, and Behaviour rating scale on inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. These scales were included in the Performance Indicators in Primary School (PIPS; Tymms, 1999), an adaptive test that measures early literacy and mathematics. Results • At all three times, girls were rated more positively than boys in socio-emotional skills and behaviour, except for adjustment to school setting where there were no differences. • At Time 3, when children entered school, their socio-emotional skills and behaviour were associated with gender, mathematics at Time 1 and their socio-emotional and behaviour ratings at Time 2, controlling for maternal education at Time 1. • Mathematics at Time 3 was not associated with socio-emotional skills nor with specific behaviour. • Literacy at Time 3 was associated with mathematics and social skills at Time 1, and literacy at Time 2, controlling for gender and maternal education. Significance of the Study This study offers the first insight into the links between socio-emotional skills, behaviour and mathematics and literacy performance of preschool children in Serbia which will inform the development and evaluation of interventions. Attrition of the sample limits the findings. [less ▲]

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