Early experiences matter: Lasting effect of concentrated disadvantage on children's language and cognitive outcomes

Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z3.
Health & Place (Impact Factor: 2.44). 11/2009; 16(2):371-80. DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2009.11.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A small but provocative literature suggests that neighbourhood socioeconomic conditions experienced by children early in life influence a variety of health and developmental outcomes later in life. We contribute to this literature by testing the degree to which neighbourhood socioeconomic conditions that children experience in Kindergarten influence their later language and cognitive outcomes in early adolescence, over and above current neighbourhood context and various child-level covariates including scores on a Kindergarten measure of school readiness. Cross-classified random effects modelling (CCREM) analyses were performed on a study population of 2648 urban children residing throughout the province of British Columbia, Canada, who were followed longitudinally from Kindergarten (age 5/6) to Grade 7 (age 12/13). Findings demonstrate that neighbourhood concentrated disadvantage experienced during Kindergarten has a durable, negative effect on children's reading comprehension outcomes seven years later-providing evidence that early social contextual experiences play a critical role in the lives of children. Possible explanations and future directions are discussed.

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