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Childcare, early education and social inequality: An international perspective

This book explores early steps in the educational career while focusing on the impact of early home environments, formal and informal childcare, and preschool enrolment on the diverging educational destinies of children. Until recently, concern about early educational investments was not on the political agenda because it was assumed that children are taken care of at home and that parental care was outside the scope of public policy. Consequently, parents were responsible for passing on skills and knowledge to their children. A massive reorientation towards external forms of care in the last decades has changed this perspective, and preschool education has become a source of skill creation early in life. In light of this, early education can also serve as an effective equalizer alleviating social inequalities in educational attainment. This book concentrates particularly on the childcare choices of families, the role of early parental involvement and care for educational success and achievement gaps, and, eventually, the consequences of early education and care for social inequality in educational opportunities. The book asks when, how, and why do social inequalities in abilities and skills arise in early life. It also asks what can be done in modem societies to combat the mechanisms producing early social inequality. (author abstract)
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