A multilevel model of child- and classroom-level psychosocial factors that support language and literacy resilience of children in Head Start

Michelle F. Maier, Virginia E. Vitiello, Daryl B. Greenfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Early exposure to the multiple risk factors associated with poverty is related to an elevated risk for academic difficulty. Therefore, it is important to promote academic resilience as early as possible and to identify factors that support resilience. Given the positive relation between early language skills and later academic outcomes, examining resilience in the domain of language and literacy is critical. Both exposure to a high-quality classroom environment and early child psychosocial strengths may serve as protective or promotive factors for low-income children, reducing the risk of poor language and literacy outcomes. Using a sample of 275 preschoolers from 29 Head Start classrooms, the current study examined the relations among teacher-reported child-level psychosocial strengths, observed classroom process quality, and growth in language and literacy. Furthermore, whether child and classroom factors had an additive or an interactive effect on outcomes was also investigated. Results indicated that child-level psychosocial strengths predicted initial levels of language and literacy, and classroom organization predicted growth. Results are discussed in terms of understanding how malleable child- and classroom-level factors are associated with language and literacy outcomes and emphasize the importance of intervening early on in young children's learning trajectories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-114
Number of pages11
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012



  • Head Start
  • Preschool
  • Protective factors
  • School readiness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

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