Now showing 1 - 7 of 7
  • Publication
    Fostering Children's Alphabet Knowledge at School Entry through Engagement in Family Literacy Activities
    (Children's Research Network for Ireland and Northern Ireland., 2015-10-20) ;
    The development of emergent literacy skills in early childhood is best conceptualised as a continuum that occurs prior to entry into formal schooling and formal instruction. Thus, the family literacy environment and the activities that parents engage their children in can play a critical role in the development of these skills. Emergent literacy encompasses skills such as print concepts, alphabet knowledge, phonological awareness, and oral language. Alphabet knowledge and phonological awareness at entry into school have in particular been found to be strong predictors of decoding and future success with reading acquisition.
  • Publication
    Phonological awareness, vocabulary and internalizing behavior. A closer look at the associations in preschoolers using a structural equation modeling approach
    (UCD Geary Institute For Public Policy, 2016-09-30) ;
    This study examined the associations among phonological awareness skills, expressive vocabulary and children’s internalizing behavior within a preschool setting. Method: Ninetyfour children (48 boys, 46 girls) were recruited from 11 schools serving low-income neighborhoods in a large metropolitan city. All children were assessed at the beginning and end of the preschool year using a mixed-methods approach. Children completed standardized assessments of phonological awareness skills and expressive vocabulary. Teacher reports were used to assess children’s internalizing behavior. A structural equation model was estimated to test for moderating effects of children’s sex. Results: The model fit the data well and revealed that poorer phonological awareness skills at the beginning of the year, but not vocabulary, predicted increased internalizing behavior at the end of the year, even after accounting for initial internalizing behavior. The association was moderated by the child’s sex and was significant for boys only. Conclusion: Poorer phonological awareness skills are associated with increased solitary behavior over time, with the association already present in the preschool years. However, the association at this age was only found for boys. These results might suggest that for boys, the academic skill level that they enter into preschool with may exert a small role in their ease of social engagement with peers within a classroom setting.
  • Publication
    Expressive language and prosocial behaviour in early childhood: Longitudinal associations in the UK Millennium Cohort Study
    Background: Early childhood is a crucial period for language development and building social skills. While distinct, these two processes may impact upon each other. Aims: The current study aimed to identify the directional associations between expressive language ability and prosocial behaviour between three and five years of age. Methods: Participants included 14, 004 children and their families enrolled in the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). Children’s expressive language and prosocial behaviour were assessed at three and five years of age utilizing standardized assessments and parent reports. Cross-lagged models were used for data analysis. Results: Better expressive language at three years was associated with increased prosocial behaviour by five years. No support for the inverse direction of association was found. Conclusions: Children’s early ability to effectively express themselves with others may help in building better social relationships by entry into formal schooling. Programming efforts that are tailored towards enhancing positive behavioural growth and social skills in the toddler years are likely to be effective when expressive language is also a targeted component of the toddler’s skill development.
      1112Scopus© Citations 28
  • Publication
    Factors associated with breastfeeding initiation: A comparison between France and French-speaking Canada
    Background: Breastfeeding is associated with multiple domains of health for both mothers and children. Nevertheless, breastfeeding initiation is low within certain developed countries. Furthermore, comparative studies of initiation rates using harmonised data across multiple regions is scarce. Objective: The aim of the present study was to investigate and compare individual-level determinants of breastfeeding initiation using two French-speaking cohorts. Methods: Participants included ~ 3,900 mothers enrolled in two cohort studies in Canada and France. Interviews, questionnaires, and medical records were utilised to collect information on maternal, family, and medical factors associated with breastfeeding initiation. Results: Rates of breastfeeding initiation were similar across cohorts, slightly above 70%. Women in both Canada and France who had higher levels of maternal education, were born outside of their respective countries and who did not smoke during pregnancy were more likely to initiate breastfeeding with the cohort infant. Notably, cohort effects of maternal education at the university level were found, whereby having 'some university' was not statistically significant for mothers in France. Further, younger mothers in Canada, who delivered by caesarean section and who had previous children had reduced odds of breastfeeding initiation. These results were not found for mothers in France. Conclusions and Implications for Practice: While some similar determinants were observed, programming efforts to increase breastfeeding initiation should be tailored to the characteristics of specific geographical regions which may be heavily impacted by the social, cultural and political climate of the region, in addition to individual and family level factors.
      267Scopus© Citations 13
  • Publication
    Investigating the relationship between social behaviors and phonological awareness in preschool children
    Purpose: This study examined the longitudinal effects of social behaviors in predicting phonological awareness outcomes in 4-year-old children. Method: One hundred two children (52 boys, 50 girls) were recruited from 11 schools serving low-income neighborhoods in a large metropolitan city and were assessed at the beginning and end of the preschool year. All children received assessments of their phonological awareness skills, expressive vocabulary, non-verbal IQ, and teachers completed behavioral ratings at pretest. At the end of the academic year, children participated in tests of phonological awareness using standardized assessments. Results: The results of a multiple regression analysis indicated that being excluded by peers contributed up to 3% of the variance in negatively predicting phonological awareness outcomes after controlling for initial phonological awareness skills, expressive vocabulary, and cognition which is a small effect size. Conclusion: Early peer exclusion can impact negatively on the acquisition of phonological awareness skills in 4-year-old children in preschool. The results of this study suggest that a child's overall behavioral competence and how they are treated by the peer group may play an important role in their ease of academic skill attainment. Given the link between peer exclusion and difficulties with phonological awareness outcomes, additional professional development programs that provide teachers with strategies to create inclusive classrooms may be warranted in preventing against the emergence of maladaptive behaviors at first entry into formal schooling.
      431Scopus© Citations 6
  • Publication
    Physical Aggression and Language Ability from 17 to 72 months: Cross-lagged Effects in a Population Sample
    Background: Does poor language ability in early childhood increase the likelihood of physical aggression or is language ability delayed by frequent physical aggression? This study examined the longitudinal associations between physical aggression and language ability from toddlerhood to early childhood in a population sample while controlling for parenting behaviours, non-verbal intellectual functioning, and children's sex. Methods: Children enrolled in the Quebec Longitudinal Study of Child Development (QLSCD) (N = 2, 057) were assessed longitudinally from 17 to 72 months via parent reports and standardized assessments. Results: The cross-lagged models revealed modest reciprocal associations between physical aggression and language performance from 17 to 41 months but not thereafter. Conclusions: Significant associations between physical aggression and poor language ability are minimal and limited to the period when physical aggression and language performance are both substantially increasing. During that period parenting behaviours may play an important role in supporting language ability while reducing the frequency of physical aggression. Further studies are needed that utilize multiple assessments of physical aggression, assess multiple domains of language abilities, and that examine the potential mediating role of parenting behaviours between 12 and 48 months.
      207Scopus© Citations 26
  • Publication
    Developmental Associations between Conduct Problems and Expressive Language in Early Childhood: A Population-Based Study
    Conduct problems have been associated with poor language development, however the direction of this association in early childhood remains unclear. This study examined the longitudinal directional associations between conduct problems and expressive language ability. Children enrolled in the UK Millennium Cohort Study (N = 14, 004; 50.3 % boys) were assessed at 3 and 5 years of age. Parent reports of conduct problems and standardised assessments of expressive language were analyzed using cross-lagged modeling. Conduct problems at 3 years was associated with poorer expressive language at 5 years and poorer expressive language at 3 years was associated with increased conduct problems by 5 years. The results support reciprocal associations, rather than a specific unidirectional path, which is commonly found with samples of older children. The emergence of problems in either domain can thus negatively impact upon the other over time, albeit the effects were modest. Studies examining the effects of intervention targeting conduct problems and language acquisition prior to school entry may be warranted in testing the efficacy of prevention programmes related to conduct problems and poor language ability early in childhood.
      571Scopus© Citations 38