Skip to main content

Morrissey, Taryn and M.E. Warner. 2007. "Why Early Care and Education Deserves as Much Attention, or More, than Prekindergarten Alone" Applied Developmental Science, 11(2): 57-70.

High-quality early care and education (ECE) programs promote positive child outcomes, allow parents to work, and contribute to the local economy. Although extant research takes into account the ECE sector in its entirety, recent economic and policy interest has centered on part-day prekindergarten for three and four-year-olds only. Using an ecological framework, we review and synthesize the research literature to examine whether the emphasis on pre-k is justified as economically superior to a comprehensive approach. We compare impacts on the macrosystem (regional economy), exosystem (parents), and microsystem (children's long-term human development) and argue that a holistic approach that includes comprehensive ECE services has economic returns as great or greater than pre-k alone. Finally, we explore the conceptual barriers that have contributed to the narrow focus on pre-k and the policy implications of ignoring the broader ecological context.

Download publication

Subject: Child Care,Economic Development