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Parenting plays key role when african american boys move from preschool to kindergarten
Date:1/28/2014

A new study from UNC's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) has found that parenting affects the academic and social performance of African American boys as they move from preschool to kindergarten.

"The transition to kindergarten can be challenging for many children due to new expectations, social interactions, and physiological changes," said Iheoma Iruka, FPG's associate director of research and the study's lead author. "Transitions may be even more arduous for African American boys, given the many challenges they are likely to face compared to their peers."

However, Iruka says that previous research has demonstrated that many African American boys actually transition into kindergarten prepared to learn and excel. "In the early years, African American children, including boys, produce narratives of higher quality and have greater narrative comprehension than their peersand, once we account for family income, African American boys outperform other boys."

Many previous studies of children sampled across ethnic groups have only emphasized the academic or social deficits of African American boys after entering kindergarten. By concentrating exclusively on these boys, Iruka and her research team hoped to look at a fuller range of experiences and outcomes. The team studied the transitions of 700 African American boys by examining family and child characteristics, as well as parenting practices.

With FPG's Nicole Gardner-Neblett and Donna-Marie C. Winn, and Montclair State University's J.S. Matthews, Iruka found four patterns for African American boys after they transitionedand her team also demonstrated the key role that parenting plays in these outcomes.

Just over half the boys (51%) showed increases in language, reading, and math scores in kindergarten, but a sizeable group (19%) consisted of low achievers in preschool who declined even further academically after transition. The smallest group (
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Contact: Dave Shaw
Dave@unc.edu
919-621-3933
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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