Participation in Organized Leisure Activities as a Context for the Development of Social Competence among Preschool Children

François Poulin, Frédéric McGovern-Murphy, Alessandra Chan, France Capuano


This study examined (a) the relation between children’s participation in organized leisure activities (OLA)
during kindergarten and social competence in Grade 1 and (b) whether this relation would vary according to
families’ income level. Participants were 556 preschool children (59% boys; M age = 5.65 years). Measures were
obtained from parents and teachers who completed a series of questionnaires about the child. Social competence
was assessed using measures of social skills and externalized behaviour. Results suggested that children who
participated in OLA in kindergarten showed significantly enhanced social skills in Grade 1 than those who did
not participate, and this link was true regardless of income level. In addition, results revealed that OLA
participation in kindergarten significantly predicted a decrease in externalized behaviour in Grade 1 only among
low-income children. The theoretical and practical implications of the results are discussed.

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Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology   ISSN 1927-0526 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0534 (Online)

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