Health Policy Brief: The Effects Of Early Care And Education On Children’s Health
Shared via HealthAffairs.org: A growing body of research indicates that early child care and education may lead to improvements in short- and long-term health-related outcomes for children.
- Most children in the US attend early care and education (ECE) such as public or private preschool, child care centers, or Head Start before entering kindergarten.
- High-quality ECE programs can promote positive educational, social-emotional, and behavioral outcomes.
- Intensive, high-quality, model ECE programs, such as Abecedarian and the Infant Health and Development Program, have strong, lasting health benefits.
- Investments in ECE programs, particularly those with health components, may provide lasting health benefits for participants.
- There is a need for additional research on the effects of contemporary public and private early childhood programs on children’s health and the mechanisms underlying these effects.
“Early care and education (ECE) includes settings in which children are cared for and taught by people other than their parents or primary caregivers with whom they live. These include center-based care arrangements (for example, child care centers, preschools, and prekindergartens) and nonparental home-based arrangements, in which care is provided in the child’s or caregiver’s home (for example, care by nannies, relatives, or babysitters and in family child care homes, which are regulated settings in which a caregiver cares for multiple unrelated children in her own home). Home visiting programs, in which a visitor spends time with children while the parents are present, are not considered ECE.”