ERIC Number: ED517847
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Reference Count: 23
Which Combination of High Quality Infant-Toddler and Preschool Care Best Promotes School Readiness?
Li, Weilin; Farkas, George; Duncan, Greg J.; Burchinal, Margaret R.; Vandell, Deborah L.; Ruzek, Erik A.; Dang, Tran T.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
This paper aims to test the following hypotheses: Hypothesis 1 (H1): Everything else the same, high quality infant-toddler care will increase children's cognitive scores immediately (i.e. at 24 months of age). However, without subsequent high quality preschool, children with high quality infant-toddler care will not have higher cognitive and achievement scores when formal school begins (i.e. at 54 months of age) than children with low quality infant-toddler care. Hypothesis 2 (H2): Everything else the same, high quality preschool will positively affect children's cognitive and academic scores immediately (i.e. at 54 months of age). In addition, the combination of high quality infant-toddler and preschool care will produce higher cognitive and achievement scores at 54 months of age than the combination of high quality preschool but low quality infant-toddler care. Hypothesis 3 (H3): Everything else the same, high quality child care in both infancy-toddlerhood and preschool stages will produce higher children's cognitive and academic scores at school entry than any other child care quality combinations. The major finding of this paper is that high quality infant-toddler care itself does not affect child outcomes in the long run without subsequent high quality preschool. High quality child care in the very early period can raise the immediate cognitive outcomes by 0.16 to 0.19 SD. However, this impact is found to fade out within two or three years if there is no high quality child care following. Regardless of the infant-toddler care quality, high quality preschool positively affects children's cognitive and academic scores at school entry. That positive effect is augmented for children with high quality infant-toddler care and higher cognitive scores at preschool entry. This implies a positive association between marginal productivity of preschool investment and the cognitive skills developed during infancy-toddlerhood. Therefore, to invest only in high quality infant-toddler care without subsequent high quality preschool is not productive in the long term. High cognitive and academic scores at school entry require consistent high quality infant-toddler care and high quality preschool. Findings of this paper suggest the desirability of spreading investment across early childhood periods as opposed to front-loading investment on infant-toddler care. (Contains 4 tables.)
Descriptors: School Readiness, Toddlers, Infants, Child Care, Educational Quality, Academic Achievement, Intelligence Tests, Preschool Education, Correlation, Early Childhood Education, Child Development, Cognitive Development
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Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)