From a summary:
Research has shown for years that placing 3- and 4-year olds from low-income families in high-quality early education settings can curb the relationship between growing up in a low-income family and underperforming in school. Now a new study in the September/October 2009 issue of Child Development goes a few steps further, linking quality child care settings at even younger ages to school achievement up to fifth grade.
The study, led by Eric Dearing, an associate professor at the Lynch School of Education of Boston College, uses longitudinal data from a national study that tracks children from birth up to fifth grade. It includes children from high-, middle-, and low-income families in a variety of childcare environments that ranged from maternal care to structured preschool facilities. The dataset also included information on children’s cognitive and academic performance, along with the quality of various childcare settings they attended, as measured by observation-based records of the care-giving environments.