Child Care Quality: Does It Matter and Does It Need to be Improved? (Full Report). Does Child Care Quality Matter?

05/24/2000

Our review of the research literature indicates that child care quality “matters” at several levels. In terms of children’s everyday experiences, children appear happier and more cognitively engaged in settings in which caregivers are interacting with them positively and in settings in which child:adult ratios are lower. There also is evidence of concurrent relations between child care quality and children’s performance in other settings. Children who attend higher-quality child care settings (measured by caregiver behaviors, by physical facilities, by age-appropriate activities, and by structural and caregiver characteristics) display better cognitive, language, and social competencies on standardized tests and according to parents, teachers, and observers. Finally, there is evidence that child care quality is related to children’s subsequent competencies. The relationship is more evident when cumulative measures of child care quality are analyzed, rather than one-time assessments, and when quality and child outcome measures have strong psychometric properties.

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