A national study suggests that high-quality child care early in life can blunt the negative impact on learning that is usually associated with children who grow up in poverty.
Published in the September-October issue of the journal Child Development, the study draws on data from a nationally representative sample of more than 1,300 children.
It finds that low-income children who spent time in child-care settings that were rated “above average” performed nearly as well as more affluent peers on reading and mathematics tests taken in the 3rd and 5th grades.
The study included a range of child-care settings. Investigators judged the quality of child care on the basis of caregivers’ responsiveness to children’s needs, the availability of learning materials, and how much caregivers talked to the youngsters and encouraged them to use language.
A version of this article appeared in the October 07, 2009 edition of Education Week as Early Child Care