Preschool Program Impacts on School Readiness: Variation by Child Prior Language and Attention Skills, and the Quality of Infant/Toddler Care

Investigators: George Farkas, Margaret Burchinal, Greg Duncan, Deborah Lowe Vandell

Graduate Student Researchers: Tran Dang, Weilin Li, Erik Ruzek

Funding: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences

This project investigates (1) whether, and to what extent, the school readiness impacts of the type, quality, and quantity of preschool experiences vary by the level of cognitive/language and attention skills children exhibit when they begin preschool; and (2) whether the achievement gap separating children of low-income and higher income families can be substantially reduced or eliminated by high-quality preschool care alone, or whether such care must be combined with high-quality infant/toddler care.

Six data sets will be used to examine these questions:

  • Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort

  • Early Head Start

  • Infant Health and Development Program

  • National Center for Early Development and Learning

  • National Head Start Impact Study

  • NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development

Key outcomes will be school readiness at about 60 months of age (measured by assessments of cognitive achievement) and learning-related behaviors (mother and teacher reports).