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Longitudinal Study: LSAC
Title: The Role of Preschool in Promoting Children’s Healthy Development: Evidence from an Australian Population Cohort
Authors: Moore, Tim 
Brinkman, Sally 
Goldfeld, Sharon 
Sayers, Mary 
O'Connor, Elodie 
Kvalsvig, Amanda 
O'Connor, Meredith 
Publication Date: Apr-2016
Pages: 40-48
Keywords: Developmental vulnerability
Australian Early Development Census
Early childhood education and care
transition to school
Abstract: A growing body of evidence suggests that engagement with quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs such as preschool can enhance children’s early development. The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) provides a unique opportunity to explore the relationship between ECEC and children’s developmental outcomes in a full population cohort of Australian school entrants. The AEDC is a teacher-rated checklist that provides data on ECEC experiences in the year before starting school, as well as five important domains of child development at school entry: physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills, and communication skills and general knowledge. In 2009, the AEDC was completed for 97.5% of Australian children in their first year of formal schooling (N = 261,147; M = 5 years, 7 months of age). Logistic regression analyses revealed that attendance at preschool was associated with reduced odds (OR = 0.69, p < 0.001 to OR = 0.40, p < 0.001) of being in the vulnerable range (<10th percentile) on four of the five AEDC domains (with the exception of emotional maturity; OR = 0.89, p = 0.002), compared to other ECEC experiences, or care exclusively by parents. Subsequent analyses revealed that this effect was evident for children living in both advantaged and disadvantaged communities. Together, the results suggest that engagement with preschool pro-grams in Australia may present a plausible, equitable, and modifiable approach to improving children’s developmental outcomes.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2015.11.001
Keywords: Education and Training -- Early Childhood; Children -- Early childhood; Children -- Outcomes
Research collection: Journal Articles
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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