Young Chinese Children's Academic Skill Development: Identifying Child-, Family-, and School-Level Factors

New Dir Child Adolesc Dev. 2019 Jan;2019(163):9-37. doi: 10.1002/cad.20271. Epub 2019 Jan 7.


This chapter addresses how child-, family-, and school-level characteristics are associated with Chinese children's academic skill development during their preschool years. Academic skills are defined in terms of young children's emergent competencies in academic domains including literacy, mathematics, and science. First, we review the relations of young Chinese children's cognition (language, visuospatial, and executive functioning), behavior (social behavior and behavioral regulation), and affect (interest and attitude) to their performance in these academic domains. Second, we review the roles of familial variables, including family socioeconomic status and broad and specific aspects of parenting practices and parental involvement. Third, we review school- and classroom-level factors, with a special emphasis on preschool and classroom quality that is particularly relevant to young Chinese children's academic skills. We discuss the educational implications of these study findings and identify methodological limitations that may threaten their internal and external validity. Our aim is to bring attention to the growing body of research on young Chinese children's academic skill development and to highlight several areas that need further research.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • China
  • Cognition
  • Educational Status
  • Executive Function*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations / ethnology*
  • Parenting
  • Schools
  • Social Environment
  • Socioeconomic Factors