Social Background and Children's Cognitive Skills: The Role of Early Childhood Education and Care in a Cross-National Perspective

Posted: 2 Aug 2019

See all articles by Nevena Kulic

Nevena Kulic

European University Institute

Jan Skopek

Trinity College (Dublin) - Department of Sociology

Moris Triventi

University of Trento - Department of Sociology and Social Research

Hans-Peter Blossfeld

University of Bamberg

Date Written: July 2019

Abstract

This review looks at the current state of research on early childhood education and care (ECEC) from a sociological stance. We summarize how children's experiences and benefits from participation in ECEC are related to their families’ socioeconomic position in modern industrial nations. By bringing together child development and intervention research from economics, education, and psychology with a sociological, social stratification perspective, our report focuses on ECEC as a policy strategy for equalization in early childhood. We argue that two major stratifiers, families and country-specific ECEC settings, need to be considered more closely when we seek to understand the efficacy of early educational interventions in modern societies. While well-targeted educational programs are found to lowerachievement gaps among children from different social backgrounds, a disproportionate use of early education by socioeconomically privileged families may offset the benefits of early interventions. In addition, the current stratification patterns in various nationwide ECEC contexts may further strengthen the gaps in children's (early) achievements.

Suggested Citation

Kulic, Nevena and Skopek, Jan and Triventi, Moris and Blossfeld, Hans-Peter, Social Background and Children's Cognitive Skills: The Role of Early Childhood Education and Care in a Cross-National Perspective (July 2019). Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 45, pp. 557-579, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3430199 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-073018-022401

Nevena Kulic (Contact Author)

European University Institute ( email )

Villa Schifanoia
133 via Bocaccio
Firenze (Florence), Tuscany 50014
Italy

Jan Skopek

Trinity College (Dublin) - Department of Sociology ( email )

Ireland

Moris Triventi

University of Trento - Department of Sociology and Social Research ( email )

Italy

Hans-Peter Blossfeld

University of Bamberg ( email )

Kirschaeckerstrasse 39
Bamberg, 96045
Germany

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