TitlePreschool classroom quality and social-emotional functioning: Findings across geographic regions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsSchmitt, SA, Pratt, ME, Korucu, I, Napoli, AR, Schmerold, KL
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Pagination11 - 22
Date Published02/2018


  • Classroom quality is moderately related to social competence for full sample.
  • Classroom quality is not related to behavior problems for full sample.
  • Urbanicity moderated association between quality and social-emotional functioning.
  • Quality is associated with decreased behavior problems for rural children.
  • Quality is associated with social competence for children in small cities.

This study examined whether classroom quality is related to preschoolers’ social-emotional functioning (social competence and behavior problems) and explored whether urbanicity (variation in geographic region: rural, small city, or large urban living) moderates this relation. Participants included 102 children (51% female) who were approximately 4.5 years old (M = 53.57 months, SD = 5.42). Fifty-one percent of children were enrolled in Head Start. Linear regression models indicated that classroom quality was moderately related to social competence and not significantly associated with behavior problems for the full sample; however, urbanicity moderated relations between quality and social competence and behavior problems. Specifically, higher classroom quality was significantly related to fewer externalizing behaviors and marginally related to fewer internalizing behaviors for children in rural communities, but not for children in small or large urban settings. Similarly, higher quality was associated with stronger social competence for children in small urban cities, but not for children in large urban cities. Discussion addresses the importance of the geographic regions families reside in as a context for children’s development, and how early educational experiences may be particularly important for children living in rural and small urban communities.

Short TitleEarly Childhood Research Quarterly