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How much is too much? The influence of preschool centers on children's social and cognitive development

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Author Info

  • Loeb, Susanna
  • Bridges, Margaret
  • Bassok, Daphna
  • Fuller, Bruce
  • Rumberger, Russell W.

Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated that attending center care is associated with cognitive benefits for young children. However, little is known about the ideal age for children to enter such care or the "right" amount of time, both weekly and yearly, for children to attend center programs. Using national data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-K), this paper asks whether there are optimal levels of center care duration and intensity and whether these levels vary by race or income. We consider pre-reading and math skills as measured by assessments administered at the beginning of kindergarten, as well as teacher-reported social-behavioral measures. We find that on average attending center care is associated with positive gains in pre-reading and math skills, but negative social behavior. Across economic levels, children who start center care between ages two and three see greater gains than those who start centers earlier or later. Further, starting earlier than age 2 is related to more pronounced negative social effects. Results for center intensity vary by income levels and race. For instance, poor and middle-income children see academic gains from attending center intensively (more than 30 hours a week), but wealthier children do not; and while intense center negatively impacts Black and White's social development, it does not have any negative impact for Hispanic children.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

Volume (Year): 26 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 52-66

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:26:y:2007:i:1:p:52-66

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References

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  1. Eliana Garces & Duncan Thomas & Janet Currie, 2000. "Longer Term Effects of Head Start," Working Papers 00-20, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  2. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Steven D. Levitt, 2002. "Understanding the Black-White Test Score Gap in the First Two Years of School," NBER Working Papers 8975, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Magnuson, Katherine A. & Ruhm, Christopher & Waldfogel, Jane, 2007. "Does prekindergarten improve school preparation and performance?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 33-51, February.
  4. A. J. Reynolds & J. A. Temple, . "Extended early childhood intervention and school achievement: Age 13 findings from the Chicago longitudinal study," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1095-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  5. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Herbst, Chris M. & Tekin, Erdal, 2010. "Child care subsidies and child development," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 618-638, August.
  2. Apps, Patricia & Mendolia, Silvia & Walker, Ian, 2013. "The impact of pre-school on adolescents’ outcomes: Evidence from a recent English cohort," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 183-199.
  3. Robert Crosnoe & Kate Prickett & Chelsea Smith & Shannon Cavanagh, 2014. "Changes in Young Children’s Family Structures and Child Care Arrangements," Demography, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 459-483, April.
  4. Bastos, Paulo & Cristia, Julian, 2012. "Supply and quality choices in private child care markets: Evidence from São Paulo," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(2), pages 242-255.
  5. Diana Warren & John P. Haisken-DeNew, 2013. "Early Bird Catches the Worm: The Causal Impact of Pre-school Participation and Teacher Qualifications on Year 3 National NAPLAN Cognitive Tests," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2013n34, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  6. Michael Baker & Kevin Milligan, 2008. "Evidence From Maternity Leave Expansions of the Impact of Maternal Care on Early Child Development," NBER Working Papers 13826, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Lawrence M. Berger & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn & Christina Paxson & Jane Waldfogel, 2007. "First-Year Maternal Employment and Child Outcomes: Differences Across Racial and Ethnic Groups," Working Papers 911, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
  8. Arteaga, Irma & Humpage, Sarah & Reynolds, Arthur J. & Temple, Judy A., 2014. "One year of preschool or two: Is it important for adult outcomes?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 221-237.
  9. Ansari, Arya & Winsler, Adam, 2013. "Stability and sequence of center-based and family childcare: Links with low-income children's school readiness," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 358-366.
  10. Emiliana Vegas & Lucrecia Santibáñez, 2010. "The Promise of Early Childhood Development in Latin America and the Caribbean," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 9385, July.
  11. Magnuson, Katherine & Shager, Hilary, 2010. "Early education: Progress and promise for children from low-income families," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1186-1198, September.
  12. Janssens, Wendy & Rosemberg, Cristina, 2014. "The impact of a Caribbean home-visiting child development program on cognitive skills," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 22-37.
  13. William T. Gormley Jr., 2007. "Early childhood care and education: Lessons and puzzles," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 633-671.
  14. Tran, Henry & Winsler, Adam, 2011. "Teacher and center stability and school readiness among low-income, ethnically diverse children in subsidized, center-based child care," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(11), pages 2241-2252.
  15. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Matthieu Verstraete, 2006. "Impact of Early Childhood Care and Education on Children's Preschool Cognitive Development: Canadian Results from a Large Quasi-experiment," Cahiers de recherche 0636, CIRPEE.
  16. J. Besharov & Caeli A. Higney, 2007. "Response to Barnett and Currie," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(3), pages 686-688.

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