In this study, the researchers examine whether participation in ECEC frameworks from birth to age 3 contribute to educational achievement despite the low quality of these settings, whether the length of time of participation contributes to cognitive development as expressed in educational achievements, and whether there are differences between Jews and Arabs, as well as among individuals of various socioeconomic levels. The researchers used data from the PIRLS 2016 exam (the last conducted in Israel), that tests reading achievement levels in Grade 4 students and included questionnaires completed by both students and their parents about their home environment. The data include more than 3,000 students born in Israel from 159 schools.
The study shows that after controlling for characteristics of children and their parents, the contribution of participation in an ECEC framework for ages birth to 3 to reading achievements in Grade 4 is not significant. This is in contradiction to the positive relationship found between participation in an educational setting at ages 3‒6 and later academic performance.
The research was generously supported by the Beracha Foundation, the Bernard van Leer Foundation, and Yad Hanadiv.