Social Background and Children's Cognitive Skills: The Role of Early Childhood Education and Care in a Cross-National Perspective. By: Kulic, Nevena; Skopek, Jan; Triventi, Moris; Blossfeld, Hans-Peter. Annual Review of Sociology. 2019, Vol. 45 Issue 1, p557-579. 18p.

This review looks at the current state of research on early childhood education and care (ECEC) from a sociological stance. We summarize how children’s experiences and benefits from participation in ECEC are related to their families’ socioeconomic position in modern industrial nations. By bringing together child development and intervention research from economics, education, and psychology with a sociological, social stratification perspective, our report focuses on ECEC as a policy strategy for equalization in early childhood. We argue that two major stratifiers, families and country-specific ECEC settings, need to be considered more closely when we seek to understand the efficacy of early educational interventions in modern societies. While well-targeted educational programs are found to lowerachievement gaps among children from different social backgrounds, a disproportionate use of early education by socioeconomically privileged families may offset the benefits of early interventions. In addition, the current stratification patterns in various nationwide ECEC contexts may further strengthen the gaps in children’s (early) achievements.