The Role of Preschool Quality in Promoting Child Development: Evidence from Rural Indonesia
41 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016
Date Written: January 5, 2016
This paper reports on the quality of early childhood education in rural Indonesia. On average, the paper finds that centers created under the Indonesia Early Childhood Education and Development Project provide higher quality services than other types of preschools, as measured by a comprehensive instrument of preschool quality based on direct observation of classrooms in session (the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised). The paper also examines the relationship between preschool quality and children's early development using three commonly applied measures of quality: (i) the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised; (ii) teacher characteristics; and (iii) structural characteristics of preschool services, such as their size and amount of class time. First, correcting for measurement error using an instrumental variables approach, the findings suggest that preschool quality is a significant and meaningful positive predictor of children's developmental outcomes. Second, the findings for teacher characteristics are mixed, suggesting that policies focused solely on hiring teachers based on experience and training will be insufficient to improve children's learning. Instead, policies must address the quality of professional development activities for teachers. Third, the amount of class time spent in early childhood programs is a significant positive predictor of children?s developmental outcomes. This suggests that in rural Indonesia?where early childhood programs are relatively low dose?children are likely to benefit from attending longer hours of preschool, either playgroups or kindergartens. Lastly, the paper compares items in the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised with Indonesia's national minimum service standards for early childhood education and development, and finds that the relationship between this alternative, context-appropriate measure of preschool quality and children?s development outcomes strongly corroborates the earlier conclusions.
Keywords: Early Child and Children's Health, Education For All, Education for Development (superceded), Nutrition, Reproductive Health, Educational Populations, Early Childhood Development
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