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Children who come from a lower economic background have a much greater disadvantage than other children. Early childhood represents a particularly important time to target children’s risk of behavior problems through proper guidance and discipline. There is a great need for preschool classrooms where processes are able to support a young child’s emotional and behavioral development. Low-income children who attend a lower quality preschool do show an emotional and behavioral adjustment and are placed at a substantially greater risk in the long run (Magnuson, & Waldfogel, 2007).
This shows us that even though the intentions to teach the child where there, we may be doing more harm to the child then help. It is imperative to learn whether interventions that target social-emotional development in preschool can avert the risk of higher behavior problems among low-income children while also supporting their emotional, behavioral, and academic adjustment. Children who are exposed to a wide range of psychosocial stressors such as living in a poor neighborhood are at a greater risk for developing emotional and behaviors issues.
These children also have minimal access to mental health services (Fantuzzo et al. , 1999). Early childhood is quite possibly the most important time to target children’s risk of behavior problems. Evidence regarding the onset of behavior problems as early as toddlerhood is mounting. With this evidence, it suggests that the earlier the intervention is conducted there is a better chance for a more positive result. The goal is to reduce the early childhood behavior issues while preparing the children for school readiness.
In order to do this, preschool classrooms have become increasingly important.
Approximately 67% of young children in the United Stated are enrolled in center-based or non-relative care prior to enrollment in kindergarten (Innes, Denton, & West, 2001). If children from ethnic and minority groups are less likely to be enrolled in a beneficial program, the gap in education may be widened. Children who spend less time in beneficial programs and attend lower-quality programs do not receive the benefit that preschool is intended to give. The experience of a high quality preschool may narrow the racial and ethic gaps, if children from minority groups are more likely to be enrolled and spend more time in them.
When it comes to preschool programs and ethic gaps in school readiness, there is shown to be a difference in racial diversity of school readiness. It is shown that a child who attends a quality center or preschool program is more ready to learn upon entering school. These children are much more likely able to know what is expected as far as behavior in the classroom. These children are given the skills in classroom guidance that they needed prior to entering elementary school.
However, since not all preschools are of high quality and there are differences in the type and quality of programs, not all children are receiving the benefit. According to Magnuson and Waldfogel, black children are more likely to attend preschool than white children, but may experience lower- quality care. Hispanic children are much less likely that white children to attend preschool. (Magnuson & Waldfogel 2005) The best estimates of the effects of early childhood care and school readiness note that these programs enhance children’s cognitive development and academic skills.
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