Effects of quality early care on school readiness skills of children at risk

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Early child development and care

Publication Date


Date Added



Brain research has strengthened our understanding of the first five years of a child’s life as a critical period. Quality early care is important to the healthy development of young children, and their later success in school. Concurrently, many families depend on childcare outside the home. Programs that have knowledgeable and skilled staff, offer a stimulating and supportive environment, provide individualized and developmentally appropriate activities for each child, reach out to parents to gain their involvement, collaborate with community resource partners and empower the family’s capacity to ensure optimal care for their children have shown much success. Many of these comprehensive programs have been particularly effective with children identified as having special needs, being economically disadvantaged or speaking a native language other than English. The Judith P. Hoyer Early Child Care and Family Education Centers (Judy Centers), implemented by the Maryland State Department of Education, is one such initiative. Through the Judy Centers, schools or childcare facilities provide quality and comprehensive early care and development services to children age birth to five and their families. Early indications are that the Judy Center services are significantly effective in ensuring children who have special needs, receive free or reduced meals, and qualify for English as a Second Language services are prepared for school and ready to learn.


Education, Child care


Elementary Education


Taylor & Francis