Quality of home environment

A child's home environment can shape his/her learning, development and behavior. Young children develop and acquire new knowledge by reacting to their surroundings, in particular the order and structure of the home environment. Research shows that a learning environment in the home is highly predictive of child outcomes, especially those related to learning and achievement (Bradley et al, 2001; Chazen-Cohen et al., 2009). Positive parenting behaviors can help prepare children to enter school with the cognitive, social and emotional skills needed to learn.  In contrast, research indicates that high levels of noise, crowding, and traffic in and out of the house is negatively related to child outcomes to include cognitive development (Gottfried & Gottfried, 1984), school achievement (Cohen, Evans, Krantz, Stokols, & Kelly, 1981), language development (Wachs & Chan, 1986), mastery motivation (Wachs, 1987), cooperative play (Liddel & Kruger, 1987) and various measures of children’s health (Matheny et al., 1995). Moreover, parents or caregivers in noisy, congested, and/or disorganized home environments have a higher probability of behaving in ways that hinder a child’s development (e.g., low responsiveness and support; Wachs, 1993).

A higher rate of parents that apply positive parenting behaviors that improve a child’s school readiness is desirable. To track data on this outcome measure, programs should collect participant data at intake/enrollment; at 3, 6, or 12 months after point of enrollment; and at termination/exit.

Work Cited

Bradley, R.H., Crowyn, R.F., Burchinal, M., McAdoo, H.P., & Coll, C.G. (2001). The home environments of children in the United States, part II: Relations with behavioral development through age thirteen. Child Development, 72, 1868-1886.

Chazan-Cohen, R. et al. (2009). Low-Income children’s School Readiness: Parent contributions over the first five years. Early Education and Development, 20(6), 958-977.

Cohen, S., Evans, G., Krantz, D., Stokols, D., & Kelly, S. (1981). Aircraft noise and children. Journal of Persona & and Social Psychology, 40, 33 l-34.

Gottfried, A., & Gottfried, A. (1984). Home environment and cognitive development in young children with middle socioeconomic status families. In A. Gottfried (Ed.), Home environment and early cognitive development (pp. 57- 115). New York: Academic.

Liddel, C., & Kruger, P. (1987). Activity and social behavior in a South African township nursery: Some effects of crowding. Merrill Palmer Quarterly, 33, 195-211.

Matheny, A.P., Washs, T. D., Ludwig, J.L., & Philips, K. (1995). Bringing Order Out of Chaos: Psychometric Characteristics of the Confusion, Hubbub, and Order Scale. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 16, pp.429-444.

Wachs, T.D. (1987). Specificity of environmental action as manifest in environmental correlates of infant’s mastery motivation. Developmental Psychology, 23, 782-790.

Wachs, T.D., & Chan, A. (1986). Specificity of environmental action as seen in physical and social environment correlates of three aspects of 12-month infants communication performance. Child Development, 57, 1464-1475.

Wachs, T.D. (1993). Nature of relations between the physical and social microenvironment of the two year old child. Early Development and Parenting, 2, 81-87.