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Citation Information

Type Conference Paper - SREE Spring 2016 Conference Abstract Template
Title Home Environment Quality Mediates the Effects of an Early Intervention on Children's Social-Emotional Development in Rural Pakistan.
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED567225.pdf
Over 200 million children under the age of 5 are not fulfilling their developmental potential due
to poverty, poor health, and lack of cognitive stimulation (Grantham-McGregor et al., 2007).
Experiences in early childhood have long term-effects on brain development and thus the
cognitive and social-emotional skills that promote children’s school success (Phillips &
Shonkoff, 2000; Wachs, Georgieff, Cusick, & McEwen, 2014; Yoshikawa, Aber, & Beardslee,
2012). Further, early childhood development is linked longitudinally to children’s educational
outcomes in low- and middle-income (LAMI) contexts (Gandhi et al., 2013; Stith, Gorman, &
Choudhury, 2003; Walker, Chang, Powell, & Grantham-McGregor, 2005). Although the
international community has aimed to provide all children with a primary education by 2015, the
number of out-of school primary school children has risen to 59 million globally (UNESCO,
2015). Given the social and economical consequences of low educational attainment, researchers
have begun to focus on interventions that might foster children’s school readiness (Engle et al.,
2011). School readiness encompasses children’s physical well-being and motor development,
social-emotional development, approaches to learning, language development, and cognition and
general knowledge (Kagan, Moore, & Bredekamp, 1998). It is particularly challenging to devise
ways of promoting school readiness in rural regions where parental education and literacy levels
are low and access to preschool programs is limited.
It is possible that social-emotional skills may be particularly important for school adjustment in
regions where average educational attainment is low, and thus most children begin school with
few pre-academic skills. Social-emotional skills allow children to engage positively with peers
and teachers in classroom environments and focus on academic material. Several studies in
LAMI countries have shown positive effects of home-based parenting interventions on children’s
behavior problems and social skills (Baker-Henningham, 2014; Hamadani, Huda, Khatun, &
Grantham-McGregor, 2006). Research in developed contexts have demonstrated that increased
social-emotional skills in the preschool years benefit children’s academic achievement at school
entry (Malecki & Elliot, 2002; McClelland, Morrison, & Holmes, 2000; Nix, Bierman,
Domitrovich, & Gill, 2013).
Further, little research has explored the mechanisms through which early interventions impact
children’s social-emotional development. Given the importance of these skills for school success,
more work is needed to understand what kinds of early interventions promote social-emotional
skills for children in LAMI contexts and how they work. I explore these questions using a large
sample of disadvantaged preschoolers and their caregivers from rural Pakistan.

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