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The relationship between culturally relevant materials, emotional climate, ethnic composition and peer play in preschools for children of color

The relationship between culturally relevant materials, emotional climate, ethnic composition and... This study aims to examine the interplay between culturally relevant materials, child racial ethnic classroom composition and positive emotional climate in regard to high levels of peer play in low-income, urban preschools located in African-American and Mexican immigrant/Mexican-American communities in the USA.Design/methodology/approachThe sample includes state or city subsidized child care programs in the USA which were traditionally African-American programs that experienced an influx of Latino immigrant enrollment. Instruments included structured observations of classroom peer play and cultural artifacts. Hierarchical multiple regression was run to determine whether cultural artifacts and child ethnic composition within classrooms contributed to the prediction of high-peer play over positive emotional climate alone.FindingsThe final model indicates that cultural artifacts reflective of African-American culture positively predict high levels of peer play, while Mexican-American cultural items are negatively predictive. In classrooms with a majority African-American population, predicted high-peer play is 7.994 greater than that predicted for majority of Latino classrooms.Research limitations/implicationsPositive emotional climate in these programs was not very high, and it is not clear whether the findings discussed in this report would hold in contexts that exhibit much higher levels of positive emotional climate. It is also not clear that the inclusion of cultural artifacts in contexts in which African-American children are the minority or in racial-ethnically heterogeneous classrooms would lead to the same findings.Practical implicationsECE classroom should make specific choices as to what culturally relevant materials to include in early childhood classrooms. Teachers of young children of color must facilitate children’s engagement with these materials by ensuring that they are representative of the children’s cultural experiences and by supporting children’s engagement with peers through the formation of emotionally positive classroom climates.Social implicationsThis study points to interesting relationships between what teachers have in classrooms and children’s engagement with each other within those contexts. The findings from this study also exemplify that a one-size-fits-all approach toward childhood development may be counterproductive. Children bring with them ethnic and cultural heritages, which when combined with the preschool culture, create unique experiences for them that should not be ignored or controlled for analysis, but rather, understood.Originality/valueThis study provides a unique analysis of seldom considered contexts by examining the use of culturally relevant materials in urban, early childhood contexts. Teachers of young children have been found to consider a focus on race and ethnicity as unnecessary or to engage in a colorblind approach with young children. This study demonstrates how paying careful consideration to the cultural environment in classrooms also supports children’s exploration and play quality. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal for Multicultural Education Emerald Publishing

The relationship between culturally relevant materials, emotional climate, ethnic composition and peer play in preschools for children of color

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
2053-535X
DOI
10.1108/jme-02-2019-0014
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study aims to examine the interplay between culturally relevant materials, child racial ethnic classroom composition and positive emotional climate in regard to high levels of peer play in low-income, urban preschools located in African-American and Mexican immigrant/Mexican-American communities in the USA.Design/methodology/approachThe sample includes state or city subsidized child care programs in the USA which were traditionally African-American programs that experienced an influx of Latino immigrant enrollment. Instruments included structured observations of classroom peer play and cultural artifacts. Hierarchical multiple regression was run to determine whether cultural artifacts and child ethnic composition within classrooms contributed to the prediction of high-peer play over positive emotional climate alone.FindingsThe final model indicates that cultural artifacts reflective of African-American culture positively predict high levels of peer play, while Mexican-American cultural items are negatively predictive. In classrooms with a majority African-American population, predicted high-peer play is 7.994 greater than that predicted for majority of Latino classrooms.Research limitations/implicationsPositive emotional climate in these programs was not very high, and it is not clear whether the findings discussed in this report would hold in contexts that exhibit much higher levels of positive emotional climate. It is also not clear that the inclusion of cultural artifacts in contexts in which African-American children are the minority or in racial-ethnically heterogeneous classrooms would lead to the same findings.Practical implicationsECE classroom should make specific choices as to what culturally relevant materials to include in early childhood classrooms. Teachers of young children of color must facilitate children’s engagement with these materials by ensuring that they are representative of the children’s cultural experiences and by supporting children’s engagement with peers through the formation of emotionally positive classroom climates.Social implicationsThis study points to interesting relationships between what teachers have in classrooms and children’s engagement with each other within those contexts. The findings from this study also exemplify that a one-size-fits-all approach toward childhood development may be counterproductive. Children bring with them ethnic and cultural heritages, which when combined with the preschool culture, create unique experiences for them that should not be ignored or controlled for analysis, but rather, understood.Originality/valueThis study provides a unique analysis of seldom considered contexts by examining the use of culturally relevant materials in urban, early childhood contexts. Teachers of young children have been found to consider a focus on race and ethnicity as unnecessary or to engage in a colorblind approach with young children. This study demonstrates how paying careful consideration to the cultural environment in classrooms also supports children’s exploration and play quality.

Journal

Journal for Multicultural EducationEmerald Publishing

Published: Nov 18, 2019

Keywords: Ethnicity; Multicultural; African-American; Early childhood education; Race; Culture; Latino; Preschool; Multicultural education; Emotional climate; Peer play; Mexican-American

References