Child Care and Early Education Research Connections
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Child care subsidy and program quality revisited
Research Findings: Previous research has documented conflicting results on the relationship between program quality and the percentage of children receiving subsidized child care (subsidy density) in early childhood centers. This research examined the relationship between subsidy density and the quality of infant and preschool classrooms in child care centers, taking into consideration teacher education and salary as well as other structural variables associated with quality. A multimethod evaluation was conducted with 110 child care centers utilizing an interview of center directors as well as classroom observations using standardized measures of quality and language/literacy in the classroom. Regression analyses indicate that subsidy density does not predict the quality of infant classrooms. However, subsidy density is a significant predictor of the quality of preschool classrooms. Teacher education is predictive of some quality indicators, but teacher salary is not. Practice or Policy: Practice and policy implications are discussed to promote the quality of child care centers that serve low-income children. Statewide initiatives should target centers with higher subsidy density for quality improvements. Local programs and state policy should provide teachers with opportunities to obtain additional education and then offer incentives to remain in their current early childhood settings. (author abstract)
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