Researchers from Boston College, the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Samford University studied 1,300 middle school students, and found that the children who spent more time in high-quality child care in the first five years of their lives had better reading and math scores in middle school.
They also observed that low income children who received high-quality child care achieved at similar academic levels as their more affluent peers, even after taking into account factors like levels of parental education and employment.
"The real takeaway here is that even minimal exposure to higher quality child care protects children from the harm done by living in poverty. When it comes to early child care, quality matters more for children in poverty than for affluent children in promoting the long term academic achievement of the former up to similar levels as the latter," said co-author Eric Dearing, an associate professor of Applied Developmental Psychology in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College.
A research article describing the study has been published in the journal Child Development.