9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN13 Sociology of Families and Intimate Lives

2009-09-05 09:00:00 2009-09-05 10:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 09:00 - 10:30 The Social Construction of Parenting Building II, Auditório B1.03

Children's School Enrolment: How Do Opportunities Within and Outside the Family Affect First Graders' School Adjustment?

The paper investigates the conditions facilitating first graders' school adjustment. We examine the extent to which opportunity structures within and outside the family (e.g., social background, parenting style, leisure activities, peer relations) affect children's school adjustment directly and explore the extent to which their effects are mediated by school-relevant individual competencies and personality traits (e.g. conscientiousness, knowledge). Answers to these questions are still scarce in sociological research. Previous studies have mainly focused on the antecedents and consequences of children's cognitive skills. They also provide evidence that long-term school success strongly depends on early school adjustment processes (e.g. Entwisle et al. 1993). Given the importance of early school adjustment, a better understanding of this early transition in childhood is pivotal. From the perspective of socialization theories, we claim that early school adjustment is shaped by the interplay of familial opportunities, leisure, and peer relations and by individual dispositions and competencies.
Data are taken from the first two waves of the Swiss Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (COCON). This is a representative longitudinal study investigating transitions in the early life course and the development of social competences of three birth cohorts. The analyses are based on the youngest cohort (N=1273) who were 6 and 7 years old at the time of the surveys in 2006 and 2007. The data also includes information from the primary caregivers and teachers as well as from the children themselves.
Results based on path models show that familial opportunities facilitate children's school adjustment directly. They also play an indirect role by affecting opportunity structures outside the family as well as school-relevant individual competencies, such as conscientiousness and previous knowledge, which in turn affect how well children adjust to the new school environment.