The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) was designed to provide policy makers, researchers, child care providers, teachers, and parents with detailed information about children's early life experiences. Data collected for the ECLS-B focus on children's health, development, care, and education during the formative years from birth through kindergarten entry.
Children, their parents, their child care and early education providers, and their teachers provided information on children's development across multiple settings (e.g., home, child care, school). Additionally, information on children's elementary schools is available by linking the ECLS-B data to school data from NCES's Common Core of Data (CCD) and Private School Survey (PSS) universe files, which pertain to U.S. public and private schools, respectively.
A nationally representative sample of approximately 10,700 participating children born in the U.S. in 2001. The children participating in the study came from diverse socioeconomic and racial/ethnic backgrounds with oversamples of Chinese children, other Asian and Pacific Islander children, American Indian and Alaska Native children, twins, and children born with low and very low birth weight.
The ECLS-B is a longitudinal study. The same children were followed from birth through kindergarten entry. Information about these children was collected when they were approximately 9 months old (2001-02), 2 years old (2003-04), and 4 years old/preschool age (2005-06). Additionally, in the fall of 2006, data were collected from all participating sample children, approximately 75 percent of whom were in kindergarten or higher. In the fall of 2007, data were collected from the approximately 25 percent of participating sample children who had not yet entered kindergarten or higher in the previous collection, as well as children who were repeating kindergarten in the 2007-08 school year.
Information was collected from children, their families, their child care and early education providers, and their teachers all across the United States.
In every round of data collection, children participated in assessment activities and parent respondents (usually the children's mother) were asked about themselves, their families, and their children. Resident fathers were asked about themselves and their role in the ECLS-B children's lives in the 9-month, 2-year, and preschool collections. Similar information was collected from nonresident biological fathers in the 9-month and 2-year collections. In addition, beginning when the children were 2 years old, their child care and early education providers were asked to provide information about their own experience and training and their setting's learning environment. At 2 years and preschool, a subsample of children in regular nonparental care and education arrangements had their arrangements observed to obtain information on the quality of those arrangements. When the ECLS-B children were in kindergarten, their teachers were asked to provide information about children's early learning experiences and the school and classroom environments. Also, the before- and after-school care and education providers of children enrolled in kindergarten were asked to provide information about their own experience, their training, and their setting's learning environment.