Poor children in higher-quality child care programs do better in math and reading through fourth grade compared to similar children in lower-quality programs or in maternal care, concludes a new study published in the September/October 2009 issue of Child Development. Quality care didn’t erase the effects of family poverty, but it helped, reports Early Ed Watch.
According to Boston College researcher Eric Dearing, “the more time these children spent in above-average child care providers, the further the association between familial income and school performance weakened.”
Trained observers evaluated how “child-care settings were organized, how teachers interacted with children, class sizes, and other indicators of quality care.”
It’s clear that intensive, expensive, very high-quality programs produce significant long-term benefits. The question has been: Can these model programs be replicated? Finding long-term gains from good-but-not-great programs is a hopeful sign.