A Population-Based Study of School Readiness Determinants in a Large Urban Public School District

Abstract

Objectives We examined biologic and social determinants of school readiness in an urban population and whether childcare altered these associations. Methods A retrospective cohort study was conducted using school readiness data linked to birth certificates of first-time kindergarten students (n = 39,463) in a large, urban public-school district during 2002–2012. Multivariate linear regression models compared mean readiness scores (MRS) for students born low birthweight (LBW) or preterm (PTB) and by childcare type, adjusting for other student and parent risk factors. Results MRSs for moderately LBW (1000–2499 g), extremely LBW (< 1000 g), moderately PTB (28–36 weeks), early-term (37–38 weeks) and post-term (42 + weeks) students were significantly lower than scores for their normal weight or full-term peers, adjusting for childcare type and other student and parent characteristics. Childcare was an important predictor of MRSs. MRSs were highest for district prekindergarten (PK) students and for students of mothers with greater years of education. Conclusions for Practice Social and biologic differences in MRSs for children entering school in a large urban public-school district suggest the need for greater attention to family and child health backgrounds. Increased enrollment in formal childcare may improve school readiness in these settings.

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Acknowledgements

This research was funded in part by the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology training grant number T03MC07645-11 from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS).

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Correspondence to Lawrence D. Reid.

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Reid, L.D., Strobino, D.M. A Population-Based Study of School Readiness Determinants in a Large Urban Public School District. Matern Child Health J 23, 325–334 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-018-2666-z

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Keywords

  • School readiness
  • Low birthweight
  • Preterm birth
  • Population-based
  • Childcare