Research Topic

Children's Competencies Development in the Home Learning Environment

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Children develop important competencies in the context of the home learning environment (HLE) long before they enter school. Primary caregivers support children's learning during everyday interactions such as shared reading or playing games. Here, it is helpful to differentiate between the home literacy and ...

Children develop important competencies in the context of the home learning environment (HLE) long before they enter school. Primary caregivers support children's learning during everyday interactions such as shared reading or playing games. Here, it is helpful to differentiate between the home literacy and numeracy environment, which are more closely associated with children's literacy and numeracy learning, respectively. Further, formal aspects of the HLE are comprised of teaching activities by the primary caregiver, whereas informal aspects of the HLE consist of various activities that foster children's learning, although learning is not the main focus of the activity.

Research shows that children who grow up in a high-quality HLE develop greater competencies and are better prepared for school. In addition, family intervention programs not only enhance the quality of the HLE, but also support children's competencies development.
The HLE is closely associated with family background variables such as the socioeconomic status (SES) of a family (i.e. families with a high SES tend to provide higher quality HLEs) or a migration background.

Consequently, the HLE acts as a mediator between more distal family characteristics and child outcomes. Further, research indicates that the HLE may not only predict children's early literacy and numeracy competencies, but also later achievement in school as well as more general cognitive abilities and behavioral outcomes.

Despite the research on HLE in recent years, we still do not know through which specific mechanisms the HLE impacts children's learning and which facets of the HLE are most important. Further, we are still in need of successful family intervention approaches that are non-intensive and are appealing to all kind of families independent of their background. Finally, we also do not know in which way digital media influences the HLE and if there are specific cultural and regional differences in the HLE.

This Research Topic focuses on empirical research and reviews on children's learning in the context of the HLE. For instance, we encourage contributions investigating:
- Different facets of the home literacy and/or numeracy environment (e.g. parental attitudes, parental teaching, quality of interactions, etc.) and their association with child competencies
- Family interventions to enhance the quality of the HLE and to support children's learning
- Assessment tools for assessing the quality of the HLE in varying contexts
- The HLE in different countries and cultures
- The usage of digital media in the HLE and how digital media impacts on the quality of the HLE
- The HLE and children's longer-term development in school
- The HLE and various child outcomes such as cognitive, behavioral or motivational competencies
- Stability and changes in the HLE and the association with child outcomes


Keywords: Home Learning Environment, Home Literacy Environment, Home Numeracy Environment, Children's competencies development, Parent-child-interactions


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