Head start participation and school readiness: evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort.
ABSTRACT: Using data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (n ? 6,950), a nationally representative sample of children born in 2001, we examined school readiness (academic skills and socioemotional well-being) at kindergarten entry for children who attended Head Start compared with those who experienced other types of child care (prekindergarten, other center-based care, other nonparental care, or parental care). Using propensity score matching methods and ordinary least squares regressions with rich controls, we found that Head Start participants had higher early reading and math scores than children in other nonparental care or parental care but also higher levels of conduct problems than those in parental care. Head Start participants had lower early reading scores compared with children in prekindergarten and had no differences in any outcomes compared with children in other center-based care. Head Start benefits were more pronounced for children who had low initial cognitive ability or parents with low levels of education or who attended Head Start for more than 20 hr per week.
Project description:Using a sample of low-income children from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (N ? 4,350) and propensity-score weighted regressions, we analyzed children's nutrition, weight, and health care receipt at kindergarten entry, comparing 1) Head Start participants and all non-participants, and 2) Head Start participants and children in prekindergarten, other center-based care, other non-parental care, or only parental care. Overall, we found that compared to all non-participants, Head Start participants were more likely to receive dental checkups but showed no differences in getting medical checkups; they were also more likely to have healthy eating patterns but showed no differences in Body Mass Index (BMI), overweight, or obesity. However, these results varied depending on the comparison group-Head Start participants showed lower BMI scores and lower probability of overweight compared to those in other non-parental care, and the effects on healthy eating and dental checkups differed by comparison group.
Project description:Over half of the toddlers in the U.S. experience routine nonparental care, but much less is known about early care than about preschool care. This study analyzed 2-year-old child care and child outcome data from the nationally representative ECLS-B sample of children born in 2001. At two-years of age, 51% of children experienced exclusive parental care, 18% relative care, 15% family child care, and 16% center care. More children in nonparental care were in medium quality care (61%) than in high quality (26%) or low quality (13%) care. Low-income children were more likely than non-low income children to be cared for by their parents and, when in care, were more often in lower quality care. The impact of toddler care quality on cognitive skills was estimated using propensity score adjustments to account for potential selection confounds due to family and child characteristics. Children's cognitive scores were higher in high or medium quality care than in low quality care, but no evidence emerged suggesting that poverty moderated the quality effects. Nevertheless, this suggests that increasing the proportion of low-income children in high quality care could reduce the achievement gap because low-income children are very unlikely to experience high quality care.
Project description:Head Start and state prekindergarten (pre-K) programs can boost the school readiness of low-income children through the use of effective preschool curricula. Encouraging results from some studies suggest that children who receive targeted or content-specific curricular supplements (e.g., literacy or math) during preschool show moderate to large improvements in that targeted content domain, but recent research also suggests differences in children's school readiness among different preschool program settings. We examine whether children in Head Start or public pre-K classrooms differentially benefit from the use of randomly assigned classroom curricula targeting specific academic domains. Our results indicate that children in both Head Start and public pre-K classrooms benefit from targeted, content-specific curricula. Future research is needed to examine the specific mechanisms and classroom processes through which curricula help improve children's outcomes.
Project description:Because children from low-income families benefit from preschool but are less likely than other children to enroll, identifying factors that promote their enrollment can support research and policy aiming to reduce socioeconomic disparities in education. In this study, we tested an accommodations model with data on 6,250 children in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort. In general, parental necessity (e.g., maternal employment) and human capital considerations (e.g., maternal education) most consistently predicted preschool enrollment among children from low-income families. Supply side factors (e.g., local child care options) and more necessity and human capital factors (e.g., having fewer children, desiring preparation for school) selected such children into preschool over parental care or other care arrangements, and several necessity factors (e.g., being less concerned about costs) selected them into non-Head Start preschools over Head Start programs. Systemic connections and child elicitation did not consistently predict preschool enrollment in this population.
Project description:As policy-makers contemplate expanding preschool opportunities for low-income children, one possibility is to fund two, rather than one year of Head Start for children at ages 3 and 4. Another option is to offer one year of Head Start followed by one year of pre-k. We ask which of these options is more effective. We use data from the Oklahoma pre-k study to examine these two 'pathways' into kindergarten using regression discontinuity to estimate the effects of each age-4 program, and propensity score weighting to address selection. We find that children attending Head Start at age 3 develop stronger pre-reading skills in a high quality pre-kindergarten at age 4 compared with attending Head Start at age 4. Pre-k and Head Start were not differentially linked to improvements in children's pre-writing skills or pre-math skills. This suggests that some impacts of early learning programs may be related to the sequencing of learning experiences to more academic programming.
Project description:Low-income minority children living in urban neighborhoods are at high risk for mental health problems and underachievement. ParentCorps, a family-centered, school-based intervention in prekindergarten, improves parenting and school readiness (ie, self-regulation and preacademic skills) in 2 randomized clinical trials. The longer-term effect on child mental health and academic performance is not known.To examine whether ParentCorps delivered as an enhancement to prekindergarten programs in high-poverty urban schools leads to fewer mental health problems and increased academic performance in the early elementary school years.This is a 3-year follow-up study of a cluster randomized clinical trial of ParentCorps in public schools with prekindergarten programs in New York City. Ten elementary schools serving a primarily low-income, black student population were randomized in 2005, and 4 consecutive cohorts of prekindergarten students were enrolled from September 12, 2005, through December 31, 2008. We report follow-up for the 3 cohorts enrolled after the initial year of implementation. Data analysis was performed from September 1, 2014, to December 31, 2015.ParentCorps included professional development for prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers and a program for parents and prekindergarten students (13 two-hour group sessions delivered after school by teachers and mental health professionals).Annual teacher ratings of mental health problems and academic performance and standardized tests of academic achievement in kindergarten and second grade by testers masked to the intervention or control group randomization.A total of 1050 children (4 years old; 518 boys [49.3%] and 532 girls [50.7%]) in 99 prekindergarten classrooms participated in the trial (88.1% of the prekindergarten population), with 792 students enrolled from 2006 to 2008. Most families in the follow-up study (421 [69.6%]) were low income; 680 (85.9%) identified as non-Latino black, 78 (9.8%) as Latino, and 34 (4.3%) as other. Relative to their peers in prekindergarten programs, children in ParentCorps-enhanced prekindergarten programs had lower levels of mental health problems (Cohen d?=?0.44; 95% CI, 0.08-0.81) and higher teacher-rated academic performance (Cohen d?=?0.21; 95% CI, 0.02-0.39) in second grade.Intervention in prekindergarten led to better mental health and academic performance 3 years later. Family-centered early intervention has the potential to prevent problems and reduce disparities for low-income minority children.clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01670227.
Project description:The home learning environment plays an important role for children's early competencies development. In particular, the early home literacy environment (HLE) that consists of all literacy resources and interactions in a family that support children's linguistic and literacy learning is closely associated with children's language comprehension and production. A key aspect of the HLE is shared reading that should start early in children's life and should be part of a regular routine in the family. However, parental attitudes toward (shared) reading have hardly been analyzed. In this longitudinal study, we analyzed the associations between parental attitudes toward shared reading and children's linguistic competencies and whether these associations may be mediated by the HLE. Further, we were interested in changes of parental attitudes over time and their association with child and family background characteristics. The sample consisted of N = 133 children with an average age of about 3 years at t1. Children were tested two more times with a 6-month period in-between each assessment. Parental attitudes toward shared reading, socioeconomic status (SES), and the HLE were assessed via parental survey. Children's sentence comprehension, productive language, and grammar were measured with a standardized test battery. Children whose parents had a more positive attitude toward shared reading not only lived in a greater quality HLE but also performed better in the linguistic tests. In a structural equation model, an indirect effect was found showing that the HLE mediated the effect of parental attitudes on children's linguistic competencies. Further, parental attitudes toward shared reading did not change significantly across t1 to t3, and a lower score in the SES scale was associated with a less positive attitude toward shared reading. Consequently, parental attitudes toward shared reading seem to be an important basis for individual differences in the quality of the HLE and also for children's linguistic competencies. As these attitudes vary in the context of different family SES backgrounds, they may be a good target for interventions to support the quality of the HLE and young children's linguistic learning.
Project description:BACKGROUND:One in three Head Start children is either overweight or obese. We will test the efficacy of an early childhood obesity prevention program, "¡Míranos! Look at Us, We Are Healthy!" (¡Míranos!), which promotes healthy growth and targets multiple energy balance-related behaviors in predominantly Latino children in Head Start. The ¡Míranos! intervention includes center-based (policy changes, staff development, gross motor program, and nutrition education) and home-based (parent engagement/education and home visits) interventions to address key enablers and barriers in obesity prevention in childcare. In partnership with Head Start, we have demonstrated the feasibility and acceptability of the proposed interventions to influence energy balance-related behaviors favorably in Head Start children. METHODS:Using a three-arm cluster randomized controlled design, 12 Head Start centers will be randomly assigned in equal number to one of three conditions: 1) a combined center- and home-based intervention, 2) center-based intervention only, or 3) comparison. The interventions will be delivered by trained Head Start staff during the academic year. A total of 444 3-year-old children (52% females; n = 37 per center at baseline) in two cohorts will be enrolled in the study and followed prospectively 1 year post-intervention. Data collection will be conducted at baseline, immediately post-intervention, and at the one-year follow-up and will include height, weight, physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviors, sleep duration and screen time, gross motor development, dietary intake and food and activity preferences. Information on family background, parental weight, PA- and nutrition-related practices and behaviors, PA and nutrition policy and environment at center and home, intervention program costs, and treatment fidelity will also be collected. DISCUSSION:With endorsement and collaboration of two local Head Start administrators, ¡Míranos!, as a culturally tailored obesity prevention program, is poised to provide evidence of efficacy and cost-effectiveness of a policy and environmental approach to prevent early onset of obesity in low-income Latino preschool children. ¡Míranos! can be disseminated to various organized childcare settings, as it is built on the Head Start program and its infrastructure, which set a gold standard for early childhood education, as well as current PA and nutrition recommendations for preschool children. TRIAL REGISTRATION:ClinicalTrials.Gov ( NCT03590834 ) July 18, 2018.
Project description:In recent years, new national and regional minimum wage laws have been passed in the United States and other countries. The laws assume that benefits flow not only to workers but also to their children. Adolescent workers will most likely be affected directly given their concentration in low-paying jobs, but younger children may be affected indirectly by changes in parents' work conditions, family income, and the quality of nonparental child care. Research on minimum wages suggests modest and mixed economic effects: Decreases in employment can offset, partly or fully, wage increases, and modest reductions in poverty rates may fade over time. Few studies have examined the effects of minimum wage increases on the well-being of families, adults, and children. In this article, we use theoretical frameworks and empirical evidence concerning the effects on children of parental work and family income to suggest hypotheses about the effects of minimum wage increases on family life and children's well-being.
Project description:Contextual variation in child disruptive behavior is well documented but remains poorly understood. We first examine how variation in observed disruptive behavior across interactional contexts is associated with maternal reports of contextual variation in oppositional-defiant behavior and functional impairment. Second, we test whether child inhibitory control explains the magnitude of contextual variation in observed disruptive behavior.Participants are 497 young children (mean age = 4 years, 11 months) from a subsample of the MAPS, a sociodemographically diverse pediatric sample, enriched for risk of disruptive behavior. Observed anger modulation and behavioral regulation problems were coded on the Disruptive Behavior Diagnostic Observation Schedule (DB-DOS) during interactions with parent and examiner. Oppositional-defiant behavior, and impairment in relationships, with parents and nonparental adults, were measured with the Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment (PAPA) interview with the mother. Functional impairment in the home and out-and-about was assessed with the Family Life Impairment Scale (FLIS), and expulsion from child care/school was measured with the baseline survey and FLIS.Observed disruptive behavior on the DB-DOS Parent Context was associated with oppositional-defiant behavior with parents, and with impairment at home and out-and-about. Observed disruptive behavior with the Examiner was associated with oppositional-defiant behavior with both parents and nonparental adults, impairment in relationships with nonparental adults, and child care/school expulsion. Differences in observed disruptive behavior in the Parent versus Examiner Contexts was related to the differences in maternal reports of oppositional-defiant behavior with parents versus nonparental adults. Children with larger decreases in disruptive behavior from Parent to Examiner Context had better inhibitory control and fewer attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms.The DB-DOS showed clinical utility in a community sample for identifying contextual variation that maps onto reported oppositional-defiant behavior and functioning across contexts. Elucidating the implications of contextual variation for early identification and targeted prevention is an important area for future research.