Childcare, Early Education and Social Inequality
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Childcare, Early Education and Social Inequality

An International Perspective

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

Recognising that social change over recent decades has strengthened the need for early childhood education and care, this book seeks to answer what role this plays in creating and compensating for social inequalities in educational attainment.
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Chapter 10: What levels the playing field for socioeconomically disadvantaged children in the Norwegian ECEC model?

Henrik D. Zachrisson, Eric Dearing, Sigrid Blömeke and Thomas Moser


It is well documented that early childhood education and care (ECEC) has the potential for buffering negative outcomes in cognitive development of growing up in a socioeconomically disadvantaged family. Yet, less is known about the features of ECEC programs contributing to this buffering. We explore such ‘active ingredients’ in the Norwegian context of universally subsidized and quality regulated ECEC, using the longitudinal Behavioral Outlook: Norwegian Developmental Study (BONDS). We used data on a subsample of 955 children for whom ECEC content assessed when children were age two, and receptive language skills were assessed at age four. Our main finding was that more emphasis on structured pre-academic activities was associated with higher language scores, and more so for children of mothers with little education. Results are contextualized with attention to the low levels of structured instruction in Norwegian ECEC centers.

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