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 13: Childcare arrangements at preschool age and later child outcomes in Denmark: The role of maternal education and type of care

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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