Can preschool protect young children’s cognitive and social development? Variation by center quality and duration of attendance
School Effectiveness and School Improvement
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Taylor & Francis via the DOI in this record.
This paper illustrates how high-quality preschool has the potential to serve as an intervention within normal populations. Although it is well known that targeted Early Interventions can protect the development of young children from developmental risks, there remains less evidence concerning universal preschool education. To address this disparity, a longitudinal secondary analysis was conducted that examined the psychological development of 2,862 English preschoolers between the ages of 3 to 5 years. A series of aggregated multilevel structural equation models indicated that at age 5 years, instances of significantly protected development were more strongly evidenced when examining (a) cognitive rather than social development, (b) child rather than family-level risks, and (c) the quality of the processes taking place within preschools rather than just the structures. Finally, for preschools that featured only high-quality structures, any partial protection of development was limited to instances of longer durations of child attendance.
This research was supported by grants from the then UK Department for Education and Skills (DfES; now called the Department for Education, DfE) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). We are especially grateful to the Effective Pre-School, Primary, and Secondary Education (EPPSE) 3–14 team, the children and families who participated in this study, and the DfE for granting us permission to use their data.
School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 2012, Vol. 24, Issue 2, pp. 155 - 176