TABLE 2-1 Indicators Suggested for the Preschool Stage


Use and availability of care and education outside the home, including:

•   Percentage of young children receiving early care and education outside the home by age 3 or 4

•   Type of care used by preschoolers, and the amount of it they have per week

•   Percentage of children in two age ranges (0 to 3 and 3 to 5) receiving different types of early care (center-based, child-care home, or informal)

Index of the quality of care and education programs. Possibilities include

•   Spending per child at each age (year of life prior to kindergarten entry), nationally and at the state level

•   Child-to-staff ratio or teacher characteristics (qualifications)

•   Direct measure, through observation, of the environment and practices in programs

•   Programs in which interactions are warm and stimulating, curricula have scope and sequence, children’s progress is monitored, and staff receive intensive coaching

•   Percentage of parents whose early childhood care and education providers interact with them in a productive way

•   Percentage of childcare and education settings (by type) that provide emotionally supportive, cognitively stimulating care


Indicator of children’s language (not only in English), academic, attention, and social skills as they enter school and possibly at age 3—a NAEP-like assessment could be used


Measures of the home environment and early experiences. Possibilities include

•   number of parents who demonstrate (or number of children who experience) responsive, sensitive interactions

•   children who experience secure attachments with caregivers

•   percent of families that provide (or percent of children who receive) enriching and stimulating home environments

•   percent of families with multiple risk factors

•   number of children or families receiving health, mental health, and social services

Index of children’s prenatal exposure to hazards

Family demographics

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