Method: Based on the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-K, 1,530 children identified as Asian were selected. Dependent variables were social emotional skills, including children’s approach to learning, social skill (self-control, interpersonal skills, externalizaing problem behaviors and internalizaing problem behaviors), child-teacher relationship (closeness and conflict) scores at kindergarten age. Children who received exclusive parental care, informal childcare, private center-based care, and school-based care were classified. Parenting Practice Variables included parents’ investment in children (the number of books children have, and the frequency of children who read outside of schools), parents’ teaching behaviors (the frequency by which parents and other family members tell stories, read books, and play games with children), and parents' expectations for their children.
RESULTS. Compared to children who attended Head Start, children cared for by informal care had lower social-emotional scores. Children who attended private center-based care had lower externalizing problems and lower student-teacher conflict scores. Children who attended school based care had lower child-teacher conflict scores than those enrolled Head Start. Children whose parents read books, told stories, and played games with their children frequently showed positive social-emotional development (higher child-teacher closeness scores/lower conflict scores, positive approach to learning skills). Parental investment and expectation did not have any impact on children’s social-emotional outcomes. Older children, girls, children without disabilities, children living in a higher income households, bilingual children, and children whose fathers had more years of education showed higher social-emotional scores.
IMPLICATIONS. Enrolling in formal center-based care at preschool age had positive impacts on Asian American children’s social-emotional skills. Asian American children were less likely to enroll in center-based care, however, and received fewer federally eligible child care subsidies. Further, enrollment rate for Head Start among Asian-American (2%) children in is lower than White (44%) and African-American (30%) children. Parents may be unaware of their children’s eligibility or of the benefits of center-based care. Outreach particularly focused on low-income Asian American families should be conducted in order to increase rates of center-based care enrollment. In addition, Asian American parents should be informed the importance of parental interactions with their children at home in a daily basis.