"Construyendo en la Fuerza: Approaches to Learning and School Readiness Gains in Latino Children Served by Head Start"
Assistant Professor Andres Bustamante has published with Annemarie Hindman (Temple University) in Early Childhood Research Quarterly: "Construyendo en la Fuerza: Approaches to Learning and School Readiness Gains in Latino Children Served by Head Start."
Latino children are the fastest growing minority group in the United States and in order to best serve this population we need research to inform educators on specific cultural strengths that can be fostered and developed. Despite the known academic achievement gap between Latino children and their non-Latino peers, ecocultural strength based research efforts have identified domain general skills like social emotional skills and executive functioning as unique strengths of Latino children. This study used the FACES 2009 dataset to explore approaches to learning as another possible set of domain general skills that may be a strength for Latino children from low-income families. On average, Latino children had higher scores in approaches to learning in the fall and spring of the Head Start year. Additionally, being Latino significantly predicted gains across the Head Start year in approaches to learning (β = 0.153, p = 0.024) (i.e., predicting spring score, controlling for fall), accounting for a constellation of relevant covariates. Conversely, being Latino negatively predicted academic school readiness in the fall (β = −0.175, p = 0.021), yet positively predicted gains in academic school readiness across the year (β = 0.129, p = 0.017), all controlling for the same covariates. However, once approaches to learning is added to the model it became a significant predictor of gains in academic readiness (β = 0.132, p < 0.001), and being Latino no longer was (β = 0.084, p = 0.152). This pattern of results suggests that approaches to learning is a strength that Latino children bring to the early childhood classroom that mediates their gains in academic school readiness. Results lend support for including approaches to learning as an intentional focus in a strength based approach to educating Latino children that leverages their competencies to empower them in the classroom.
Bustamante, A., & Hindman, A. (2018). Construyendo en la fuerza: Approaches to learning and school readiness gains in Latino children served by Head Start. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2018.06.003
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