The Development and Home Environments of Low-Income Hispanic Children: Kindergarten to Third Grade

Publication Date:

September 19, 2017

Individual and family-level factors are linked to the healthy development of Hispanica children.11-14 At the individual level, children who succeed academically and have strong interpersonal skills tend to fare well across the course of their lives.1,9,10 Importantly, these successes and skills are shaped by the family or home environments in which children grow up—both by family resources (e.g., family structure and parental education)2,16,19 and by engagement in cognitively stimulating activities (e.g., reading, counting games)15-18. It is often challenging to disentangle individual from family-level factors, but examining both simultaneously can help stakeholders—including teachers, policymakers, and parents—determine how to strategically allocate often limited resources aimed at supporting Hispanic children and families.

This brief used the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Class of 2010–2011 (ECLS-K: 2011) to describe the academic achievement, social skills, and family environment of low-incomeb Hispanic children from kindergarten through third grade, as compared to their white and black peers. Specifically, this brief addresses the following questions:

  • How do low-income Hispanic children’s academic and social skills from kindergarten entry through third grade compare to those of their non-Hispanic white and black peers
  • How do low-income Latino children’s family resources (i.e., family structure, parental education) and engagement in cognitively stimulating activities (e.g., reading, counting games) compare to those of their white and black peers?

Footnotes and References

Footnotes

a. In this brief, we use the terms Hispanic and Latino interchangeably.

b. Families with incomes at or below 200 percent of Federal Poverty Line. For more information, see https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines.

References

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3. Denton, K., & West, J. (2002). Children’s reading and mathematics achievement in kindergarten and first grade (No. NCES2002-125). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

4. Reardon, S. F., & Galindo, C. (2007). Patterns of Hispanic students’ math skill proficiency in the early elementary grades. Journal of Latinos and Education, 6(3), 229-251.

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16. Mistry, R. S., Benner, A. D., Biesanz, J. C., Clark, S. L., & Howes, C. (2010). Family and social risk, and parental investments during the early childhood years as predictors of low-income children’s school readiness outcomes. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 25(4), 432-449.

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18. Cabrera, N. J., Malin, J. L., Kuhns, C., & West, J. (2016). The early home environment of Latino boys and their peers: A developmental perspective. Infant Mental Health Journal, 38(1), 97-114.

19. Cabrera, N., Fitzgerald, H. E., Bradley, R. H., & Roggman, L. (2014). The ecology of father-child relationships: An expanded model. Journal of Family Theory and Review, 6(4), 336-354.