The relationship between preschool bilingual children's language dominance, sensory-motor functioning, and readiness for school

Vela, Dora
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The reasons for the academic failure of the Spanish-speaking child vary. Academic underachievement, however, is a phenomenon which begins so early in school that preschool influences are suggested. This study proposed to examine the relationship between preschool Spanish-speaking children's sensory-motor ability and school readiness following participation in Head Start and Day Care programs. Thirty-three 5 and 6 year old Head Start children and thirty-three 5 and 6 years old Day Care children made the Experimental and the Control groups. Dependent measures included the Physical Dexterity Tasks, the Inventory of Readiness Skills, and the Dos Amiogos Verbal Language Scale. Pretest and posttest measures were taken. The relationship between sensory-motor ability, school readiness, English language dominance, and Spanish language dominance, as well as the differences between the groups were investigated. Results indicated that school readiness and sensory-motor abilty were related only for subjects dominant in English. In addition, language dominance (English or Spanish), and school readiness was related. Both groups showed improvement on all measures. However, the majority of the Head Start subjects were still functioning below average for their age on language and school readiness. Consideration should be given to the early verbal stimulation of the low-income Spanish-speaking child either through parent-training in the Head Start programs or teacher-training in the schools.

Preschool education, Bilingual education, Readiness for school