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Young Children’s Care and Education Before Kindergarten

Data about young children’s care and education before kindergarten are collected in the NHES Early Childhood Program Participation Survey (ECPP) and, in prior years, in the NHES School Readiness Survey (SR). These surveys collect data about children from birth through age 6 who are not yet enrolled in kindergarten. The surveys typically focus on children’s participation in and barriers to participating in nonparental care arrangements; activities the family engages in with the child, such as reading, singing, and arts and crafts; and the child’s preschool learning, such as counting, recognizing the letters of the alphabet, and reading. Parents are the respondents.

A mother and son reading on the couch

Most Recent Findings

Early Childhood Program Participation: 2019

Cover for the Early Childhood Program Participation Survey: 2019 report

This First Look report presents findings about young children’s care and education before kindergarten, including participation rates in weekly nonparental care arrangements, how well these arrangements cover work hours, costs of care, months spent in care, location of care, factors used to select a care arrangement, and factors making it difficult to find care. These data represent circumstances before the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions.

The Costs of Child Care: 2016

Cover for The Costs of Child Care report

These Web Tables present findings on the types of child care chosen by parents; the importance of cost to parents when choosing child care; the types of financial assistance received for child care; and the mean out-of-pocket expenses for child care. Estimates include break-outs by child, family, and parent characteristics.

Other Resources Related to Young Children

NCES Annual Reports

The NCES Annual Reports and Information program produces several reports each year that draw from over 25 surveys by NCES and other government agencies. Many of these reports include information on preschool education, early child care, and/or home literacy activities with young children.

Early Childhood Longitudinal Study

The NCES Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS) program provides information about children’s knowledge, skills, and socioemotional development from birth through elementary school.

America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being

This annual report provides a comprehensive set of national indicators of child well-being across many policy domains including education, health, family and social environments, and economic (among others) circumstances.

State Education Practices (Early Childhood and Kindergarten)

This website provides an overview of state policies and practices across many areas of education, including initiatives on readiness at the early childhood level, to ensure that students begin school with the skills they need.

National Survey of Children’s Health

The National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) provides national and state level estimates of key measures of child health and well-being. These data are an essential source of information on the health status and health services needs of children across the nation and in states and communities.

National Survey of Early Care and Education

The National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) is a national survey of the supply and demand for early child care and education. The NSECE has been conducted for over 20 years. These data inform our understanding of child care services available throughout the U.S. and how families with young children select and pay for child care services.

Most Recent Data File & Questionnaire

2019 ECPP Data File

2019 ECPP Questionnaire

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