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Susanne Wahler, Sandra Buchholz and Asta Breinholt

The objective of our chapter is to investigate childcare arrangements at preschool age and later child outcomes in Denmark, taking into consideration the role of maternal education and type of care. Denmark represents an interesting case for studying this issue, because it strongly defamiliarizes childcare, placing much weight on a well-developed and much frequented early childhood education and care (ECEC) system (G'slason and Eydal 2011; Del Boca 2015). In concrete terms, we first examine in which types of early childcare Danish children are being cared for at age three. Second, we analyse whether and how maternal education is associated with the type of three-year-old children’s preschool care arrangement. Third, we explore whether maternal education and the type of early childcare at age three are related to children’s later outcomes as measured by their language skills and cognitive skills at age 11 as well as their cognitive skills at age 15. To test our research interests, we used data from the Danish Longitudinal Survey of Children (DALSC). In brief our results showed that the great majority of Danish children in our sample attended some form of out-of-home care during the daytime at age three, whereby there are patterns of social inequality in the type of early childcare received by the offspring from different maternal educational backgrounds. It also appeared that maternal education exerts a powerful influence on all of the examined skills. As regards the role of the type of preschool care arrangement at age three for children’s outcomes evaluated at age 11 and age 15, we found only one significant negative association between low-quality versus high-quality publicly provided out-of-home care and 11-year-old children’s language skills.

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Nevena Kulic, Jan Skopek, Moris Triventi and Hans-Peter Blossfeld

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Daniela Del Boca, Daniela Piazzalunga and Chiara Pronzato

Because of the growing participation of mothers in the labour market, a large number of children have been enrolled in childcare. In the last few years, an important literature has analysed the role of childcare in child development. The aim of this chapter is to explore the impact of childcare on child outcomes and its disparities, using the Millennium Cohort Survey (MCS) for the United Kingdom, which provides very detailed information on childcare and child outcomes. We first explore the association between formal childcare and child cognitive outcomes, allowing the effect of formal childcare to be different for children from different family backgrounds. Second, we simulate how an increase in formal childcare use can affect inequalities across children. Our results report that there is a significant association between childcare attendance and several child cognitive outcomes and that an increase in childcare attendance contributes to reduce inequalities across children.

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Yuliya Kosyakova and Gordey Yastrebov

This chapter explores changes in the relationship between social inequality and the use of childcare arrangements in Russia between 1994 and 2012. These changes are evaluated against changes in the context surrounding the system of childcare provision throughout the post-Soviet period. In particular, we consider the following changes: increasing household competition for state-subsidized childcare provision and its differentiation, the adoption of neo-familialist social policies in the 2000s, and the growing relevance of informal relations in securing access to formal childcare services. To empirically investigate the changes in the use of childcare arrangements by different types of families we rely on data from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey (1994–2012). We find that families with higher social standing are more likely to participate in formal public childcare, although inequality in access has slightly decreased in the 2000s. On the other hand, inequality increased with regard to expenditure on external childcare, which suggests that more advantaged families switched to different forms of childcare. This is partly corroborated by the fact that these families use formal public childcare less intensively, possibly by exposing their children to other types of childcare. Social inequalities also exist in informal childcare arrangements; whereas more advantaged families generally make wider use of these arrangements, they are less likely to limit themselves to exclusive parental care, which is more widely spread in the less advantaged families. The patterns of informal childcare remained largely unchanged throughout the period considered.

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Paul Leseman, Hanna Mulder, Josje Verhagen, Martine Broekhuizen, Saskia van Schaik and Pauline Slot

Persistent educational inequalities are a major concern in Dutch society. Despite decades of educational priority policy, the gaps in educational achievement between mainstream (native-born) children and children from low-income Dutch families and non-Western immigrant families remain substantial. This chapter reports evidence from a recent longitudinal study (the pre-COOL2–5 cohort study) on the effects of the current early childhood education and care (ECEC) policy for two to six year olds on early inequalities in language, cognitive and non-cognitive development. Although, the design of the pre-COOL study does not allow for strong conclusions, the results show that disadvantaged children who attend ECEC catch-up with their peers. The catching-up effect, moreover, is related to the quality of ECEC, and suggests added value of participating in high-quality ECEC for these children. Clear effects of ECEC quality on non-disadvantaged children’s development were not found, however. The sizes of the catching-up effects in disadvantaged groups are medium to strong, but the early inequalities are not fully reduced. Potential reasons are the relatively low intensity and late entrance in ECEC. Thus, both an earlier start and perhaps a more intensive programme are possible ways to enhance the effectiveness of preschool education priority policy.

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Sabine Weinert, Manja Attig and Hans-Günther Roßbach

Social disparities emerge rather early in development and are well documented when children are three years of age. The present chapter focuses on their early roots and emergence using data of a German large-scale infant cohort study (first assessment wave) when children were about six to eight months of age. Drawing on a bio-ecological model of child development, the chapter reports on analyses of social disparities in the home-learning environment, i.e. the quality of mother’s interaction behaviour, on the one hand, and social disparities in various indicators of early child development (e.g. sensorimotor development, information processing, child characteristics in mother–child interaction) on the other. As expected the child’s and mother’s behaviour in mother–child interaction proved to be highly interrelated; however, social disparities were mainly observable in the mother’s behaviour and hardly any in early child development.

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Jan Skopek

This chapter contributes to research on the impact of centre-based care on child outcomes by comparing cognitive competencies of preschoolers in East and West Germany. While previous research was discussing differences in childcare arrangements across East and West Germany in terms of fertility, potential consequences for children’s development were largely ignored. Exploiting data from the German National Educational Panel Study, I am analysing (1) enrolment to centre-based child care and (2) its consequences for cognitive abilities of preschoolers at around age five in East and West Germany. The expectation that higher provision of centre-based child care in East Germany may give East German children a lead in early abilities found limited support. While previous assessments in school age consistently documented achievement gaps between East and West German children, my study provides hints that one cause may be the systematically earlier entrance to institutional care in East Germany. I conclude with several implications for further research and policy makers.

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Edited by Hans-Peter Blossfeld, Nevena Kulic, Jan Skopek and Moris Triventi

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Aleksi Karhula, Jani Erola and Elina Kilpi-Jakonen

The Finnish day care system is considered to be one of the most universalistic in the world. Day care is heavily subsidized by the state and completely free for low-income families. Yet compared to other Nordic countries a substantially higher number, 40 per cent of children aged one to five, are taken care of at home. In this chapter we show that day care is positively associated with later educational outcomes in the Finnish context. Half or more of this advantage is explained by the positive selection into day care of children with highly educated parents. Further analysis indicates that the remaining association is either due to selection on other family background factors, or is mediated by lower family income and weaker labour market ties of the parents. Although some previous studies have found heterogeneous effects, we find them to be similar for all levels of parental education.