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NEWS: SEED releases latest early years research

The longitudinal Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) has released its findings after following 6,000 children from the age of two into school looking at the impact of early education and the child outcomes at the start of school, and the important of the early years home environment.

The report investigated:

  • the associations between the amount of different types of early childhood education and care (ECEC) that children receive aged 2 to 5 years and child development at the start of school
  • to consider how age of starting ECEC may be associated with child development at the start of school
  • to investigate the impacts of the home environment on child development at the start of school

Key findings:

  • Higher use of informal individual early childhood Education and Care (ECEC) (with friends, relatives etc.) between age two and the start of school was associated with better verbal ability measured during school year one.
  • High use of formal group ECEC (mean hours per week) between age two and the start of school is associated with negative effects on socio-emotional well-being in school year one.
  • There is evidence that the use of some individual ECEC (childminders, friends, relatives) mitigates the negative socio-emotional effects of high formal group ECEC use.
  • Starting age is important and interacts with level of disadvantage. For the 40% most disadvantaged children, starting to use a minimum of ten hours per week formal group ECEC no later than age two, combined with a mean use of over twenty hours per week of formal group ECEC between age two and the start of school, increases the chances of children achieving the expected level on EYFSP measures in school reception year and also improves children’s verbal ability in school year one.
  • There was a positive association between formal group ECEC use (in nursery classes, nursery schools etc.) and better verbal ability during school year one, but only for children from families in the lowest quartile of home learning environment score (i.e. children with the least enhancing home learning environments).
  • There was no clear evidence of associations between the quality of ECEC which children had attended between ages two and four and their developmental outcomes during reception year / school year one: though these findings may relate to the relatively small sample of settings for the SEED quality study and the similarities in ECEC quality across the sample.

Read the full report here.