Everything I Need to Know I Didn’t Learn in Kindergarten: Early Childhood Non-Parental Care Cognitive and Behavioral Skill Effects
Christopher Near, University of Michigan
Yu Xie, University of Michigan
Early child care is a part of social mobility that has seen both increasing importance and greater study as mothers’ labor force participation has increased in recent decades. Experimental intervention programs for disadvantaged children have demonstrated that quality early child care can improve adult outcomes, in large part by improving behavioral skills. Larger-scale observational studies of conventional child care characteristics have found more mixed short-term results, sometimes finding the same short-term cognitive skill improvements from quality child care but rarely finding behavioral skill improvements, and most studies end before adolescence. Our study will use the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing longitudinal study to examine effects of early child care type on later cognitive and behavioral skills as part of a larger project examining the potential long-term divergence of cognitive and non-cognitive skill effects. Our preliminary analyses find similar positive cognitive but not behavioral skill effects at age 9 from preschool care type.