culturally shaped expectations, attitudes, skills, and knowledge? What does research suggest as important sources of compatibility and incompatibility between children's home cultures and those of the early childhood settings that constitute their first exposure to a school-like environment?

Researchers have examined two broad sources of home-school inconsistency that could undermine the ease with which children make the adjustment to early childhood settings. First, children may lack exposure (or sufficient exposure) to the types of preliteracy and prenumeracy experiences that their early childhood teachers expect of them, including exposure to written and spoken English. Second, children may have experienced different social rules that, in turn, affect their expectations about how learning will occur, how their teachers and peers will treat them, and how they should behave in the classroom.


Young children's exposure to the types of learning experiences and materials that schools often expect of them has been repeatedly shown to affect their adjustment to early childhood settings. For example, children who have not acquired some intuitive understanding of the alphabet or of numbers—information that many teachers assume they have—have a higher probability of being left behind when formal instruction begins than do their classmates who have this knowledge. Much of the research discussed in this part of the workshop focused on kindergarten- and early elementary-age students. Although its generalizability to preschool-age children cannot be assumed, some participants speculated that problems associated with children 's differing exposure to early learning experiences may actually be exacerbated as formal instruction moves into the preschool years. As noted by one participant, “It simply means that children will get behind even earlier in their educational careers.”

Preliteracy and Prenumeracy Experiences

Evidence that supports the importance of early exposure to particular learning opportunities derives from studies that compare the achievement levels of children who have and have not been exposed to the beneficial early experiences at home or in preschool that were discussed in the previous chapter—conversations about numbers, interactive reading, and decontextualized conversation, for example. Additional evidence, discussed below, derives from intervention studies that provide these experiences and examine subsequent effects on achievement.

The work of Sharon Griffin and her colleagues (Case and Griffin, 1990; Griffin, Case, and Siegler, 1992), for example, has documented striking

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