Young children's emotional development and school readiness

C. C. Raver

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


The current emphasis on children's academic preparedness continues to overshadow the importance of children's social and emotional development for school readiness. This Digest presents a brief overview of longitudinal research linking children's emotional development to school readiness and early childhood success, and then discusses interventions designed for children entering school. Specifically, the Digest notes, emerging research on early schooling suggests that the relationships that children build with peers and teachers are based on children's ability to regulate emotions in prosocial versus antisocial ways and that those relationships then serve as a "source of provisions" that either help or hurt children's chances of doing well academically. Children's early academic skills and emotional adjustment may be bidirectionally related, so that young children who struggle with early reading and learning difficulties may grow increasingly frustrated and more disruptive. Interventions to help address or avoid such problems include low-intensity interventions in the classroom; low- to moderate-intensity intervention in the homespecifically parent training programs; "multi-pronged" home/school interventions for children at moderate risk; and high-intensity clinical interventions for high-risk children. The Digest concludes with cautions that explain variation in programmatic success: (1) programmatic success is reliant in great measure on the extent to which they enlist family participation; (2) it may be unreasonable to expect long-term emotional and behavioral gains on the part of young children if their families continue to face chronic, structural stressors that erode children's psycho-social health; and (3) the economic, employment, and policy contexts of high-risk families have changed substantially from the conditions under which many models of interventions were originally designed and implemented over 20 years ago. (Contains 24 references.) (HTH)
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003


  • Academic Achievement
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Emotional Development
  • Interpersonal Competence
  • Intervention
  • Learning Readiness
  • Peer Relationship
  • School Readiness
  • Social Development
  • Teacher Student Relationship
  • Young Children
  • Emotional Regulation
  • ERIC Digests


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