Dr. Michal Perlman


Professor, University of Toronto and Director, Dr. R.G.N. Laidlaw Research Centre, University of Toronto



416-978-0596


Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)


University of Toronto


252 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5S 1V6


Early child development in low- and middle-income countries: Is it what mothers have or what they do that makes a difference to child outcomes?


Book in a collection


Nirmala Rao, Caroline Cohrssen, Jin Sun, Yufen Su, Michal Perlman
Advances in Child Development and Behavior, Elsevier, 2021, pp. 255--277


Cite

Cite

APA
Rao, N., Cohrssen, C., Sun, J., Su, Y., & Perlman, M. (2021). Early child development in low- and middle-income countries: Is it what mothers have or what they do that makes a difference to child outcomes? In Advances in Child Development and Behavior (pp. 255–277). Elsevier.

Chicago/Turabian
Rao, Nirmala, Caroline Cohrssen, Jin Sun, Yufen Su, and Michal Perlman. “Early Child Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Is It What Mothers Have or What They Do That Makes a Difference to Child Outcomes?” In Advances in Child Development and Behavior, 255–277. Elsevier, 2021.

MLA
Rao, Nirmala, et al. “Early Child Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Is It What Mothers Have or What They Do That Makes a Difference to Child Outcomes?” Advances in Child Development and Behavior, Elsevier, 2021, pp. 255–77.


Abstract

Child developmental theories and a large body of literature underscore the importance of both home and preschool influences on early childhood outcomes. We leveraged data from UNICEF'S Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys, a nationally representative international household survey that has collected cohort comparable information on children's early development in over 118 low- and middle-income countries since 1995. We focused on data from 216,052 3- to 4-year-olds (106,037 girls) from 28 countries that had undertaken at least two surveys from 2010 to 2018. We considered the impact of maternal education and household wealth (what mothers/caregivers have) on home learning activities and sending children to early childhood programs (what mothers/caregivers do), on early child development. Our results indicated that maternal education, household wealth, home learning activities, participation in early childhood education (ECE) and scores on the early childhood development index (ECDI) generally increased over time and were significantly related to each other. Multilevel structural equation modeling revealed the mechanism through which maternal education and household wealth were associated with child outcomes. More wealthy and more educated mothers were more likely to send their child to an ECE program, which was in turn, associated with a higher ECDI score. Caregiver-reported participation in ECE had a large effect on the ECDI score while maternal education had a small effect on it. In comparison the effects of the home learning environment were much smaller. Taken together, findings suggest that education and wealth (what parents have) influence what they do (providing opportunities for learning), which in turn influences early child development. Furthermore, exposure to ECE services was particularly important for children's development. We conclude by discussing the policy implications of our findings and providing suggestions for future research.

Keywords: Early child development; Early childhood education; Home learning activities; Maternal education.



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