High-quality Early Childcare = Later Academic Success?

˙ PREAL Blog

We call your attention to two recent documents that demonstrate that investing in the early years of poor children is crucial to long-term school success, and produces higher returns than investments made later in life. Results from one of the most comprehensive national longitudinal studies of early childcare in the United States, the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (SECCYD), suggest that high-quality childcare may provide poor kids with an early academic boost that influences their learning through -at least- the fifth grade (summarized in “High-quality Early Childcare=Later Academic Success?” on the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Usable Knowledge website). Similarly, Emiliana Vegas and Lucrecia Santibañez make the case for improving young children’s capacity to develop and learn in The Promise of Early Childhood Development in Latin America and the Caribbean, just published by the World Bank. Key messages include:
  • “Children who have greater numbers of experiences in high-quality childcare from 6- to 54-months tend to show higher levels of reading and math achievement (averaged) across the elementary-school years” (Dearing et al., 2009).  
  • “High-quality childcare experiences can begin to mitigate the negative effects of poverty on children’s academic achievement” (Dearing et al., 2009).  
  • Education policies and programs that begin in the early years can bring higher return to investment than those directed to older children. In Uruguay, the return to investing in the expansion of pre-school services was calculated to be 14% and the cost-benefit ratio was higher than 2.2 (Vegas and Santibañez, 2010).      
  • “Although education policies are important, what happens in school is not enough to level the opportunities and reduce inequality” (Vegas and Santibañez, 2010).

Does Higher Quality Early Child Care Promote Low-Income Children’s Math and Reading Achievement in Middle Childhood? http://www.gse.harvard.edu/blog/uk/2009/11/high-quality-early-child-care-later-academic-success.html