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Keywords:

  • boys of color;
  • African American boys;
  • Latino boys;
  • social inequality;
  • poverty;
  • psycho-social competence;
  • ethnicity;
  • self-regulation;
  • peer relationships;
  • pre-K;
  • kindergarten;
  • teacher–student relationship

This article explores the development of psychosocial competence in boys of color (BOC; 226 African Americans and 109 Latinos). Changes in competence were assessed over 2 years in cohorts of low-income BOC beginning in pre-K, kindergarten, or first grade. Psycho-social competence was assessed in terms of self-regulation, interpersonal skills, and positive relationships with peers and teachers. Psycho-social and academic competence in literacy and math were assessed in prekindergarten through second grade using teacher reports, child reports, and normed measures. One-year follow-up data were available on measures of psycho-social competence. BOC evidenced high levels of psycho-social competence, especially on self-regulation, which was related to both math and reading achievement. Teachers and children held similarly favorable views of their relationships, but teacher ratings of peer relationships of BOC were less positive. Although emotional self-regulation was stable, declines were observed in self-regulation of attention, quality of peer relationships, teacher-rated closeness, and satisfaction with life at school, especially over the transition from pre-K to primary school.