Effects of the Home Learning Environment and Preschool Center Experience upon Literacy and Numeracy Development in Early Primary School


*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Prof. Edward Melhuish, Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues Birkbeck, University of London, 7 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3RA UK [e-mail: e.melhuish@bbk.ac.uk].


This study investigates the influence of aspects of home and preschool environments upon literacy and numeracy achievement at school entry and at the end of the 3rd year of school. Individuals with unexpected performance pathways (by forming demographically adjusted groups: overachieving, average, and underachieving) were identified in order to explore the effects of the home learning environment and preschool variables on child development. Multilevel models applied to hierarchical data allow the groups that differ with regard to expected performance to be created at the child and preschool center levels. These multilevel analyses indicate powerful effects for the home learning environment and important effects of specific preschool centers at school entry. Although reduced, such effects remain several years later.