New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 257–273 | Cite as

Early Childhood Education and Later Educational Attainment and Socioeconomic Wellbeing Outcomes to Age 30

  • Geraldine F. H. McLeod
  • L. John HorwoodEmail author
  • Joseph M. Boden
  • David M. Fergusson


This paper examines the associations between attendance at early childhood education (ECE) and longer-term academic attainment and socioeconomic wellbeing in a New Zealand birth cohort studied to age 30. Nearly 95% of the cohort had attended ECE by age 5. After adjustment for family background and child characteristics, results showed statistically significant trends for increasing duration of ECE attendance to be associated with: greater attainment of high school and university qualifications and higher adult socioeconomic wellbeing (income, employment, occupational status); effect size estimates were small to moderate. No evidence was found for differential effects of ECE attendance across subgroups defined by child: ethnicity, gender, parental education or socioeconomic status. The implications of these findings are discussed.


Early childhood education Kindergarten Adolescent development Adult development Educational attainment Socioeconomic status 



This research was funded by grants from the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC 11/792), the National Child Health Research Foundation (Cure Kids), the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation and the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Supplementary material

40841_2018_106_MOESM1_ESM.docx (153 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 152 kb)


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Copyright information

© New Zealand Association for Research in Education 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Christchurch Health and Development Study, Department of Psychological MedicineUniversity of Otago, ChristchurchChristchurchNew Zealand

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