Hispanic Preschoolers' School Readiness: A Study Examining the Impact of Cultural, Social-Emotional, and Sociodemographic Factors



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The Hispanic population is becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States, facing not only many sociodemographic risks, but academic risks as well. A large number of Hispanics are entering school unprepared to learn. While the importance of school readiness for academic success and achievement has been established, research focusing on school readiness in the Hispanic population has been limited. Furthermore, while research has established the importance of social-emotional skills for school readiness, these have been insufficiently studied in this population in how they relate to school readiness. This study examined school readiness in Hispanic preschoolers and the impact of sociodemographic, cultural, and socio-emotional variables on school readiness. A total of 162 children ages 3 to 5 years old were assessed by a school readiness measure in a Head Start program in central Texas. Children were assessed during the first 45 days of school. Teachers and caregivers completed a social-emotional rating scale on each student?s social skills and problem behavior during the first 45 days of school. In addition, caregivers completed a questionnaire that addressed cultural and sociodemographic factors. The purpose of this study was to fill the gaps of the literature by examining factors that impact school readiness among Hispanic preschoolers. The goal of this study was to determine the extent to which cultural variables can predict school readiness and social-emotional competence, above and beyond sociodemographic factors. This study also sought to determine the extent to which social-emotional competence can predict school readiness above and beyond sociodemographic factors and cultural factors. This study hypothesized that cultural factors and social-emotional competence would have an impact on school readiness, above and beyond sociodemographic factors. This study used hierarchical regression analyses. Results suggest that cultural variables were not good predictors of school readiness or social-emotional competence. Sociodemographic variables were good predictors of social-emotional competence. In addition, social skills were significant predictors of school readiness. Results suggest that Hispanic preschoolers are not that unlike other preschoolers when it comes to factors that have an impact on their school readiness and social-emotional competence.