The authors are grateful to Sonia Cabell, Alice Wiggins, and Sarah Friel for their assistance in executing this project. We are also thankful to the numerous teachers, children, and families who participated. This work was supported by R305F050006 from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The content of this report does not necessarily represent the views of IES.
Peer Effects in Preschool Classrooms: Is Children’s Language Growth Associated With Their Classmates’ Skills?
Article first published online: 25 OCT 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Child Development © 2011 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 82, Issue 6, pages 1768–1777, November/December 2011
How to Cite
Justice, L. M., Petscher, Y., Schatschneider, C. and Mashburn, A. (2011), Peer Effects in Preschool Classrooms: Is Children’s Language Growth Associated With Their Classmates’ Skills?. Child Development, 82: 1768–1777. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01665.x
- Issue published online: 15 NOV 2011
- Article first published online: 25 OCT 2011
With an increasing number of young children participating in preschool education, this study determined whether peer effects are present in this earliest sector of schooling. Specifically, this work examined whether peer effects were influential to preschoolers’ growth in language skills over an academic year and whether peer effects manifest differently based on children’s status in reference to their peers. Peer effects were assessed for 338 children in 49 classrooms. A significant interaction between the language skills of children’s classmates and children’s fall language skills indicated that peer effects were strongest for children with low language skills who were in classrooms that served children with relatively low skill levels, on average. Findings further showed that reference status, or children’s relative standing to their peers, has the greater consequence for children with very low language skills in relation to their peers.