Head Start/Child Care Partnerships: Program Characteristics and Classroom Quality
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As part of President Obama’s Early Education Plan, Congress authorized $500 million in the 2014 Omnibus Act to support states and communities in expanding high-quality early learning through the creation of a new Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership initiative. This initiative has placed renewed interest on research regarding the nature and benefits of Head Start and child care partnerships. In this study, we sought to confirm—or call into question—the benefits of Head Start and child care partnerships by performing secondary analysis of data collected from child care centers in partnership and matched non-partnering comparison centers. We analyzed survey data from 61 child care centers—approximately half of which were engaged in partnership with Head Start—and analyzed observational data from 66 classrooms within these centers. The observational data had been collected using two psychometrically valid and reliable measures of quality—the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale Revised Edition (ECERS-R) and the Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation Toolkit (ELLCO). Results show that classrooms at partnership centers demonstrated higher observed global quality in all six subscales of the ECERS-R, as well as the total overall score compared to non-partnership classrooms. Moreover, classrooms in partnership performed higher on seven out of ten subscales, as measured by the ELLCO, with the largest difference seen in language and literacy practices. To further explore the potential benefits of partnerships on classroom quality, we developed hierarchical regression models. These results provided further evidence regarding the benefits of partnership.
KeywordsHead Start Child care Partnerships Early childhood
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