Not Just Numeracy and Literacy: Theory of Mind Development and School Readiness Among Low-Income Children

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The current study investigated the role of theory of mind development in school readiness among 120 low-income preschool and kindergarten children. A short-term longitudinal design was used to examine relations among theory of mind, the understanding of teaching, and learning behaviors and their collective role in children’s literacy and numeracy skills at school entry. Results replicate differences in theory of mind development among low-income children as compared to typically studied, higher-income samples. Theory of mind and the combination of several sociocognitive variables successfully predicted concurrent relations with academic outcomes. Children’s understanding of teaching predicted changes in literacy scores over time. Results are discussed in the context of what is known about theory of mind and sociocognitive development in school readiness.

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