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Child Dev. 2001 Sep-Oct;72(5):1534-53.

The relation of preschool child-care quality to children's cognitive and social developmental trajectories through second grade.

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Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 27599-8180, USA.


The cognitive and socioemotional development of 733 children was examined longitudinally from ages 4 to 8 years as a function of the quality of their preschool experiences in community child-care centers, after adjusting for family selection factors related to child-care quality and development. These results provide evidence that child-care quality has a modest long-term effect on children's patterns of cognitive and socioemotional development at least through kindergarten, and in some cases, through second grade. Differential effects on children's development were found for two aspects of child-care quality. Observed classroom practices were related to children's language and academic skills, whereas the closeness of the teacher-child relationship was related to both cognitive and social skills, with the strongest effects for the latter. Moderating influences of family characteristics were observed for some outcomes, indicating stronger positive effects of child-care quality for children from more at-risk backgrounds. These findings contribute further evidence of the long-term influences of the quality of child-care environments on children's cognitive and social skills through the elementary school years and are consistent with a bioecological model of development that considers the multiple environmental contexts that the child experiences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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