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Session Overview
Oral Presentation IX: "Peer Effects on Early Language Development"
Monday, 21/Nov/2022:
2:15pm - 2:30pm

Presenting Author: Daniel Schmerse

Location: Auditorium Roux

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Peer Effects on Early Language Development

Daniel Schmerse

University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, Switzerland

For many children, the transition from family to early childhood education (ECE) marks the entry into the world of peers. Nevertheless, the role of peers in skill development has received little attention, particularly in the development of language skills. The present study investigated the vocabulary development of children (NLevel 1 = 547) from linguistically and socioeconomically diverse classrooms in Germany (NLevel2 = 97) from age 3 in preschool to age 7 in Grade 1 using multilevel growth curve analyses. The results showed that for dual language learners (DLLs, n = 107) growth rates in their German majority language skills varied over classrooms. Compared to monolingual children, DLLs improved faster in classrooms with higher peer-level skills in the majority language than DLLs in classrooms with lower peer-level skills (effect size = .06 SD / year) controlling for SES and classroom quality. DLLs showed stronger growth dynamics than monolingual children during later preschool stages. The findings highlight the role of preschool peers in DLLs’ acquisition of the majority language before entering elementary school. In addition, the talk will outline a new methodological approach using Integrative Data Analysis (IDA) techniques to (a) generate more robust findings on the effects peer group composition and (b) directly compare peer effects in different national ECE systems in future research.

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