Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Karl White


Karl White


Xitao Fan


Martha Dever


Child care researchers divide child care quality into two separate categories: structural child care quality (adult-child ratios, class size, amount of physical space, etc.) and dynamic child care quality (number and quality of teacher-child relationships). A consensus has emerged in the child care literature that structural child care quality has no direct effect on children's developmental outcomes (e.g., language development, social development, school readiness) . Rather, structural child care quality facilitates dynamic child care quality, which then has a direct effect on child outcomes. While child care researchers frequently assert that structural variables merely facilitate dynamic variables, and have no direct impact on child outcomes, this assertion has never been empirically tested.

The presented study tested the relative impact of structural and dynamic child care quality on child outcomes using multiple regression analysis. A data set from the European Child Care and Education Study involving 1,246 subjects was used, and 20 structural quality variables, 10 dynamic quality variables, and four measures of child outcomes were used in the multiple regression equations. In each case it was found that structural quality variables continued to be correlated with child outcomes after the variance associated with dynamic quality variables was removed, indicating that structural child care quality has an influence on child outcomes beyond merely facilitating dynamic quality . The prevailing view that structural child care quality merely facilitates dynamic child care quality, and has no direct influence on child outcomes, was not supported by the present study.



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