GENDER DIFFERENCES IN EARLY LITERACY, MATHEMATICAL, AND SELF-REGULATION SKILLS IN PRE-SCHOOL

Saulė Raižienė, Renata Garckija, Ingrida Gabrialavičiūtė, Vilija Jaruševičiūtė, Gintautas Šilinskas

Abstract


Reading, writing, and mathematical success at school is not only predicted by the process of teaching and learning at school, but also by the early literacy, mathematical, and self regulatory skills that were acquired in pre-school years. The possible risks of learning difficulties can be already recognized while observing early differences in letter recognition skills, breadth of vocabulary and concepts, phonetic analysis of the words, recognition of sequence of numbers, abilities to manage impulses and behavior before entering formal school education. The mentioned differences in abilities can be explained by gender differences as well as differences in the educational system.
The goal of the current study was to compare the early literacy, mathematical, and self-regulation skills of Lithuanian pre-school boys and girls. The study is aimed at answering following research questions: can gender differences in early literacy, mathematical, and self-regulation skills be found? Which group of children has better developed skills atpreschool age? 229 (116 girls and 113 boys) pre-school children (age mean 6,63) took part in individual evaluation of early literacy, mathematical and self-regulation skills. Children were attending six institutions providing pre-school education.
The results of the study proved that girls outperformed boys in most of the early literacy skills: vocabulary knowledge, naming first sound of the word, letter naming, word reading and writing. Rapid naming of the objects and initial phoneme deletion skills were not different among boys and girls. Girls were also better at self-regulation skills than boys. On average, there were no gender differences in mathematical calculation (number adding and subtracting, number sequencing) skills. However, when the groups of top performing children were analyzed, the results showed that there are more boys than girls in the groups performing highest on number adding and subtracting tasks).
The results of this study invite to organize the pre-school education in a way that would provide equal opportunities to every child, regardless of their gender to disclose their early literacy, mathematics, and self-regulation abilities. Pre-school educators are advised to monitor the development of reading and writing skills among boys and mathematical skills among girls as the gender groups are at higher risk of developing lower skills in these academic areas. If needed, educators could attempt to stimulate students interest in literacy or mathematical tasks and provide with early academic support.

Keywords


early literacy skills, mathematical abilities, self-regulation, pre-school age

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13165/SD-19-17-2-04

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"Social Work" ISSN online 2029-2775 / ISSN print 1648-4789