Patterns of family access to early care and education arrangements during preschool and implications for young children’s kindergarten outcomes

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christina M. Stephens (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Danielle Crosby

Abstract: High quality early care and education (ECE) experiences are integral for providing young children with a strong developmental foundation and the skills needed for later schooling. Despite this evidence, the supply of ECE providers is scarce and marked by substantial variation in terms of cost, quality, and services offered; leading many families with young children to experience inconsistent access. Given this complexity of child care access that extends beyond solely the availability of an ECE arrangement, this dissertation examines a multidimensional and family-centered definition of ECE access to examine (1) patterns of access-related features of children’s ECE arrangements, (2) demographic characteristics that may be related to patterns of access, and (3) whether children’s differential access during the preschool period is associated with academic outcomes in kindergarten. Using ECLS-B data, this dissertation employed a latent class analytic (LCA) approach to examine the construct of access. The LCA enumeration process revealed three latent classes of children’s non-parental care arrangements along indicators of accessibility: (1) more accessible center care arrangements (34%), (2) moderately accessible home care arrangements (29%), and (3) arrangements that primarily support parents’ needs (37%). Covariate analyses revealed several child and household characteristics that predicted differences in class membership. Additionally, the three latent classes of children’s ECE access during preschool significantly varied on kindergarten math and reading skills. The implications of child care access for young children, families and the ECE landscape are discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2023
Access, Child care, Early care and education, Early development, Latent class analysis, Preschool
Early childhood education $z United States
Child care services $z United States
Child development $z United States
Academic achievement $z United States

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