The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationships among proportion of instruction in Spanish, observed classroom quality, and preschool-aged children's academic skills. Study participants included 357 Spanish-speaking 4-year-old children who attended state-funded pre-kindergarten programs in 11 states that participated in one of two studies: the National Center for Early Development and Learning's (NCEDL) Multi-State Study of Pre-Kindergarten (Multi-State Study) and the NCEDL-NIEER State-Wide Early Education Programs Study (SWEEP Study). Children's spring language, reading, and math scores were analyzed using multi-level models to test whether amount of instruction in Spanish and the observed classroom quality predicted skill levels at the end of pre-kindergarten. Spanish-speaking children's reading and math scores were higher when they received more instruction in Spanish in classrooms with more responsive and sensitive teachers. These findings suggest that the provision of instruction in Spanish in high-quality pre-kindergarten programs appears to enhance acquisition of academic skills for Spanish-speaking children who enter pre-kindergarten with limited English.
Early Childhood Education