Low-income children are at increased risk for school readiness deficits in terms of both cognitive and social development. This study examined the roles of childcare involvement and parent-child interaction quality on the development of school readiness and social skills among a low-income, minority sample of kindergarten children. Findings provide mixed evidence on the role of childcare exposure, with early entry into childcare predicting higher levels of social skills ratings and increased time per week in such settings predicting lower levels of social skills development. Childcare exposure had positive, although trend-level, relationships with other readiness-related outcomes after accounting for demographic characteristics of children and their families. Parent-child interactions characterized as structured and responsive to the child’s needs and emotions were positively related to school readiness, social skills, and receptive communication skills development after accounting for demographic characteristics and childcare exposure. Implications for preventive intervention program development and the role of school psychologists in the areas of consultation and intervention are discussed.
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