Relationships between young children’s home learning environment, school liking and early academic skills

Sum Kwing CHEUNG, Wing Yee CHENG, Yuen Man Rebecca CHEUNG, Yi Hung Eva LAU, Kevin Kien Hoa CHUNG

Research output: Other contributionOther contributions

Abstract

Evidence shows that home learning environment plays a crucial role in young children’s success at school (e.g., Mutaf-Yıldız, Sasanguie, De Smedt, & Reynvoet, 2020; Silinskas, Sénéchal, Torppa, & Lerkkanen, 2020). Three research gaps, however, are worth pursuing. First, studies have mostly focused on the effects brought by the frequencies of informal and formal learning activities that parents engage children at home. Few have investigated how these learning activities are carried out thus far. Second, home learning experiences provided by mothers and fathers were seldom examined separately, though previous research occasionally found that parent-child interactions differed as a function of parents’ sex during joint activities (Huang, Sun, Tang, 2020). Third, despite the fact that the family and school are two important contexts for children’s academic socialization, little is known about the relationship between the home learning environment and young children’s feelings towards school. This topic deserves more attention because positive feelings towards school can promote young children’s participation in the classroom, which may in turn facilitate their early academic learning (Ladd, Buhs, & Seid, 2000). Therefore, the present study examined how three aspects of home learning environment (namely, the frequencies of informal and formal learning activities, and autonomy support provided during home learning activities) by mothers and fathers were related to children’s school liking and early academic skills (as operationalized as their oral language and object counting skills).

A total of 334 Hong Kong first-year kindergarteners (52% boys; mean age = 58.44 months, SD = 4.01 months) was administered an expressive vocabulary task (Ho, Leung, & Cheung, 2011) and an object counting task (Cheung, Yang, Dulay, & McBride, 2018). Their mothers and fathers also completed a questionnaire with measures of home learning environment (adapted from Katz, Kaplan, & Buzukashvily, 2011; Stipek, Milburn, Clements, & Daniels, 1992) and their children’s feelings towards school (Ladd et al., 2000). To investigate the relationships between the home learning environment, young children’s school liking, and early academic skills, structural equation modelling was performed, and the results are presented in Figure 1. After controlling for children’s sex, age, parental education, three home learning environment variables were positively associated with children’s academic skills via their school liking: the frequency of mother-child informal learning activities (β = .08, 95% CI: .06 – .73), autonomy support provided by mothers during home learning activities (β = .09, 95% CI: .10 – 1.06), and autonomy support provided by fathers during home learning activities (β = .06, 95% CI: .01 – .58). The frequencies of father-child informal learning activities and mother-child and father-child formal learning activities were not related to children’s school liking nor academic skills. In view of the above findings, training for parents on how to interact with children during home learning activities should be further promoted to foster children’s learning. Parents and early childhood educators should also be reminded that children’s feeling towards school plays an important role in the development of their academic competence. Copyright © 2021 SRCD.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

Citation

Cheung, S. K., Cheng W. Y., Cheung, R. Y. M., Lau, E. Y. H., & Chung, K. K. H. (2021, April). Relationships between young children’s home learning environment, school liking and early academic skills. Poster presented at the Society of Research in Child Development (SRCD 2021) Biennial Meeting, USA.

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