What are the most prevalent forms of early child care and education environments for children the year before they enter kindergarten?
Young children experience various types of early care and education environments the
year before they enter kindergarten. Some children attend center-based arrangements such
as preschools, childcare centers, or Head Start programs, while others are cared for in
relatives' or nonrelatives' homes or are normally cared for only by their parents.
The overall percentage of children ages 4 and 5 years old who attended center-based care as their primary early care and education (ECE) arrangement before kindergarten entry was higher in 2012 than in 1995 (58 vs. 55 percent), while the percentage of children who primarily received home-based nonrelative care as their primary ECE arrangement was lower in 2012 than in 1995 (7 vs. 11 percent). The overall percentages of children receiving home-based relative care as their primary ECE arrangement (13 percent) and those with no ECE arrangement on a regular basis (19 percent) in 2012 were not measurably different from the percentages in 1995.
First-time kindergartners' academic skills and learning behaviors at the beginning of kindergarten were related to their primary ECE arrangement the year before kindergarten, after taking into account children's sex, age at kindergarten entry, race/ethnicity, family type, primary home language, and SES. For example, kindergartners who had no regular ECE arrangements and mainly received care from their parents the year before kindergarten and those whose primary ECE arrangement was home-based relative care tended to score lower in reading, mathematics, and cognitive flexibility in the fall of kindergarten than their peers whose primary ECE arrangement was center-based care. In addition, fall kindergarten approaches to learning ratings were lower, on average, for children who had no regular ECE arrangements the year before kindergarten than for those who were primarily in home-based nonrelative care, center-based care, or multiple care arrangements for equal amounts of time.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). Primary Early Care and Education Arrangements and Achievement at Kindergarten Entry (NCES 2016-070).
Related Tables and Figures: (Listed by Release Date)
- 2019, % of children from birth to 5 and not yet in kindergarten participating in weekly nonparental care and the mean # of hours per week that children spend in current primary weekly nonparental care arrangements, by child and family characteristics: 2016
- 2019, Digest of Education Statistics 2018, Table 202.10. Enrollment of 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old children in preprimary programs, by age of child, level of program, control of program, and attendance status: Selected years, 1970 through 2017
- 2019, Digest of Education Statistics 2018, Table 202.20. Percentage of 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old children enrolled in preprimary programs, by level of program, attendance status, and selected child and family characteristics: 2017
- 2019, Digest of Education Statistics 2018, Table 202.25. Percentage of 3- and 4-year-old children enrolled in school, by race/ethnicity and state: 2017
- 2019, Digest of Education Statistics 2018, Table 202.30. Number of children under 6 years old and not yet enrolled in kindergarten, % in center-based programs, average weekly hours in nonparental care, and % in various types of primary care arrangements, by selected child and family characteristics: 2016
- 2019, Digest of Education Statistics 2018, Table 202.40. Child care arrangements of 3- to 5-year-old children who are not yet in kindergarten, by age and race/ethnicity: Selected years, 1991 through 2016
- 2019, Digest of Education Statistics 2018, Table 202.60. Percentage distribution of quality rating of child care arrangements of children at about 4 years of age, by type of arrangement and selected child and family characteristics: 2005-06
- 2019, The Condition of Education 2019: Preschool and Kindergarten Enrollment
- 2018, The Condition of Education 2018: Early Childhood Care Arrangements: Choices and Costs
Other Resources: (Listed by Release Date)
- 2019, Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS): This survey includes three longitudinal studies that examine child development, school readiness, and early school experiences.
- 2019, National Household Education Surveys Program (NHES): This site provides access to publications and data on learning at all ages, from early childhood to school age through adulthood.
- 2017, Early Childhood Program Participation, Results from the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2016
- 2017, NCES Blog, Changes in Children's Nonparental Care Arrangements From 2001 to 2012
- 2017, The Years Before School: Children’s Nonparental Care Arrangements From 2001 to 2012
- 2016, Primary Early Care and Education Arrangements and Achievement at Kindergarten Entry
- 2015, Early Childhood Program Participation, From the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012