By age 5, children who had attended formal preschool centers showed higher reading and mathematics skills in kindergarten than those who had been in home or informal care,.
Using nationally representative data, researchers from the University of Virginia, Cornell University, the Urban Institute, and Stanford University also found that roughly half of children ages 3 to 5 participate in at least some “informal” preschool, including in-home day care, nannies, and babysitters.
The study notes that 56 percent of teachers in formal preschools had a degree in early-childhood education, versus 9 percent of informal caregivers; and on average, teachers in preschool centers had three more years of formal education. Formal preschool teachers also reported reading and performing math activities with children more frequently than those in in-home preschools, and they reported children watched less than seven minutes of television each day, compared with two hours for informal child care.
A version of this article appeared in the June 08, 2016 edition of Education Week as Preschool