Early Childhood

Reports Highlight Importance Of Caregivers’ Education

By Linda Jacobson — June 12, 2002 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Child-adult ratios are not nearly as important in family child-care settings as they are in center-based programs. Rather, it’s the provider’s level of education and training that counts the most in home-based programs, according to a pair of reports in the spring issue of the Early Childhood Research Quarterly.

Educational level was also found to be more important than a provider’s years of experience in the early-childhood field.

“The policy implications of these results suggest as parents and policymakers make decisions about child-care homes they should rely more heavily on characteristics such as licensing and caregiver education and training than on child-adult ratios,” write the authors of one of the papers. They are: Margaret Burchinal, a senior scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Carollee Howes, an education professor at the University of California, Los Angeles; and Susan J. Kontos, a professor of child development and family studies at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

The results also “suggest that we should be careful in generalizing fairly robust findings from one setting like the child-care centers to another setting like child-care homes,” they write.

In “Structural Predictors of Child Care Quality in Child Care Homes,” the three researchers analyze two previous studies involving more than 300 child-care homes. The studies included data on whether the provider was sensitive toward the children or appeared detached.

The authors found that even though caregivers with more education and training provided higher-quality care, the level of quality did drop when the providers were caring for more infants.

“Infants and toddlers require more time for basic caregiving than preschoolers, and therefore, it is more difficult to find time to interact with all children when there are more babies present,” the authors note.

In their conclusions, the authors also warn that just because ratios are not related to quality in family child-care homes doesn’t mean that programs with large groups of children provide high-quality care. In the studies they observed, the most children in the care of one adult was 13, and almost all the homes in the study had ratios of 6-to-1 or smaller.

“Ratios are kind of a slippery variable when you’re studying family child care,” said Marilou Hyson, a deputy executive director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Washington-based organization that publishes the research journal.

She added that providers who are caring for only a few children might not offer high-quality care because they see it as a temporary means of making money. Providers caring for larger groups, however, can be committed to the profession.

Finally, the authors note that because one of the data sets they analyzed was drawn completely from California, the results might not represent child-care homes nationally.

Cognitive Development

In the second paper, “Do Regulable Features of Child Care Homes Affect Children’s Development,” five researchers, including Ms. Burchinal and K. Allison Clarke-Stewart, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Irvine, analyze data from the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. That study is an ongoing research project at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

The authors found that when family child-care providers had more training and education, the children in their care scored higher on tests of cognitive and language development than those children with providers who had less education.

A version of this article appeared in the June 12, 2002 edition of Education Week as Reports Highlight Importance Of Caregivers’ Education

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Academic Integrity in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
As AI writing tools rapidly evolve, learn how to set standards and expectations for your students on their use.
Content provided by Turnitin
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Early Childhood Support for Universal Pre-K Grows as More States Jump on Board
New Mexico became the latest state to approve investments in pre-K programs.
5 min read
A Pre-K student plays with the class guinea pig at Positive Tomorrows in Oklahoma City, Okla., on Aug. 17, 2021. Oklahoma is one of a handful of states offering universal pre-k to all students.
A prekindergarten student plays with the class guinea pig at Positive Tomorrows in Oklahoma City, Okla., in 2021. Oklahoma is one of a handful of states offering universal pre-K.
Sue Ogrocki/AP
Early Childhood As Head Start Quality Push Continues, Advocates Raise Red Flag on Equity
Inadequate federal funding forces Head Start providers to choose between quality and quantity, a new report contends.
2 min read
A multi-ethnic group of preschool students is sitting with their legs crossed on the floor in their classroom. The mixed-race female teacher is sitting on the floor facing the children. The happy kids are smiling and following the teacher's instructions. They have their arms raised in the air.
E+/Getty
Early Childhood Spotlight Spotlight on Early Learning
This Spotlight will help you examine the impact of early education programs on high school performance, evaluate pre-K programs, and more.
Early Childhood Get a Very Early Start on Teaching Coding Skills. Pilot Study Suggests Trying Robotic Toys
The study found that coding exercises enhanced the preschoolers’ problem-solving skills, creativity, and determination.
2 min read
Julian Gresham, 12, left, works in a group to program a Bee-Bot while in their fifth grade summer school class Monday, June 14, 2021, at Goliad Elementary School. Bee-bots and are new to Ector County Independent School District and help to teach students basic programming skills like sequencing, estimation and problem-solving.
Students work in a group to program a Bee-Bot while in their summer school class at Goliad Elementary School in Odessa, Texas.
Jacob Ford/Odessa American via AP