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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Publication details

Aleksić, G., Merrell, C., Ferring, D., Tymms, P. & Klemenović, J. (2019). Links between Socio-Emotional Skills, Behaviour, Mathematics and Literacy of Preschool Children in Serbia. European Journal of Psychology of Education 34(2): 417-438.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Young children’s socio-emotional skills are important for understanding their own and others’ behaviors and interactions. No study in Serbia has investigated this before. In this study, we explored the links between early socio-emotional skills, behavior, and mathematics and literacy performance of preschool children in Serbia over time. Children (N = 159; 51% of girls) aged 5–8 were rated by the teachers on their socio-emotional skills and behavior, and their mathematics and literacy assessed at three time points over 14 months, twice in preschool and once at entry to school. At time 3, when children entered school, their socio-emotional skills and behavior were associated with gender, mathematics at time 1, and their socio-emotional and behavior ratings at time 2, controlling for maternal education and literacy at time 1. Mathematics at time 3 was associated with mathematics at time 2, controlling for gender, maternal education, literacy, and behavior at time 1. No socio-emotional skills or specific behavior were significant for mathematics. Literacy at time 3 was associated with mathematics and social skills at time 1, and literacy at time 2, controlling for gender and maternal education. At all three times, girls were rated more positively than boys in socio-emotional skills and behavior, except for adjustment to school setting where there were no differences. This study offers the first insight into the links between socio-emotional skills, behavior, and mathematics and literacy performance of preschool children in Serbia which will inform the development and evaluation of interventions. Attrition of the sample limits the findings.

School of Education