01 02 03 Institute for Effective Education, University of York: Social skills in kindergarten linked to positive outcomes in adulthood 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Social skills in kindergarten linked to positive outcomes in adulthood

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A new study published in the American Journal of Public Health reports a link between children’s social skills in kindergarten (which most children in the US attend when they are age 5/6) and their well-being in early adulthood.
 
Data for the study came from the longitudinal Fast Track project, an intervention designed to reduce aggression in children identified as high risk for long-term behavioural problems and conduct disorders. As part of Fast Track, nearly 800 children were evaluated by their teachers on a range of social behaviours, such as whether they resolve peer problems, listen to others, and share materials. Each child received a composite score representing his or her overall level of positive social skills/behaviour on a scale from 0 (“not at all”) to 4 (“very well”). Using a variety of data sources, researchers monitored these children and their life events, both positive (eg, obtaining a high school diploma) and negative (eg, getting a criminal record), until they turned 25.
 
Findings showed that for every one-point increase in a child’s social competence score in kindergarten, he/she was:
 
For every one-point decrease in a child’s social competence score in kindergarten, he/she had:
 
In conclusion, the authors say, “Our results suggest that perceived early social competence at least serves as a marker for important long-term outcomes and at most is instrumental in influencing other developmental factors that collectively affect the life course. Evaluating such characteristics in children could be important in planning interventions and curricula to improve these social competencies.”
 
Source: Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health: The Relationship Between Kindergarten Social Competence and Future Wellness (2015), American Journal of Public Health.

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