A new study of kindergarteners in one Midwestern state identified seven different pathways the children took in their early education and care before arriving at school.
The researchers were surprised by the diverse experiences that kids brought with them to kindergarten: While some received care only in their home or mainly in a child care center, others switched back and forth between different types of care, or had other arrangements.
This study is one of the few that has looked at kids’ child care experiences all the way from birth to kindergarten, which allowed the researchers to capture the broad range of pathways, said Nathan Helsabeck, lead author of the study and a graduate research associate in educational studies at The Ohio State University.
“There are more nuanced differences in children’s experiences before kindergarten than we originally thought,” said Helsabeck, who is also an associate of Ohio State’s Crane Center for Early Childhood Education and Policy.
“Looking at how children get to kindergarten could help us better consider what they need when they are entering school.”
The study was published online in the journal Early Education and Development.
The study is part of a larger federally funded project designed to improve understanding of what happens in classrooms from pre-school to third grade. Data was collected from two large, suburban school districts including 25 schools, 152 classrooms and 3,472 students. A subsample of 568 students was used in this study.
One part of the study involved having parents complete questionnaires