The Role of Language Competence in Building Peer Relationships in Early Childhood: A Social Network Perspective

Femke van der Wilt, Dominik E. Froehlich, Chiel van der Veen


Engaging in positive relationships with peers is highly important for children's learning and development. In the present study, social network analyses were used to investigate how children's language competence affects their peer relationships in the context of early childhood classrooms. A total of 13 classrooms (N = 248 children) participated. Children's language competence was measured using tests for oral communicative competence and receptive vocabulary knowledge. Furthermore, a sociometric method was used to obtain network data. Outcomes of social network analyses showed that children are more likely to form relationships with children with high and similar levels of receptive vocabulary knowledge. In addition, weak support was found for the hypothesis that children form relationships with children with high levels of oral communicative competence.

Klíčová slova

peer relationships; social network analysis; oral communicative competence; receptive vocabulary knowledge; early childhood education

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