Journal Article

Crèche Attendance and Children’s Intelligence and Behavior Development

By Baumeister, A. E. E., Rindermann, H. & Barnett, W. S. (2014).

Early childhood education is intended to further cognitive and general development. Studies on the impact of regular crèche (preschool for children under age 3) attendance outside the U.S. are rare. Two complementary studies conducted in Austria are presented: In Study 1, 62 kindergarten children (aged 4–6 years) who previously attended crèche were matched to kindergarten children who had not attended crèche. Crèche attendance was strongly and positively associated with cognitive ability (10 IQ points), social–emotional and motor development, but negatively associated with behavior rated by kindergarten teachers. In Study 2 with 118 fourth graders (aged 8–10 years), the association between crèche attendance and cognitive ability was weaker than in Study 1 at kindergarten age and was masked by a negative correlation with learning behaviors. A path model indicated direct positive (3 IQ points) and indirect negative effects (−1 IQ point) via learning behaviors on intelligence at primary school age.

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The Authors

W. Steven (Steve) Barnett is a Board of Governors Professor and the founder and Senior Co-Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University. Dr. Barnett’s work primarily focuses on public policies regarding early childhood education, child care, and child development.