Research Snapshot: The Impact of Childcare on Pursuing Postsecondary Education

Findings from a study on childcare enrollment and educational outcomes.

October 27, 2022

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Research has long shown that attending a postsecondary school such as a university, college, or trade school can positively affect people’s life outcomes. Previous studies have found that children exposed to mentally and physically stimulating childcare tend to experience better long-term educational prospects. They also have a better chance of completing high school and are less likely to experience poverty, especially among boys. But other studies show that benefits from childcare attendance may fade over time.

This longitudinal study examines whether involvement with formal and informal childcare during early childhood affects one’s likelihood of pursuing postsecondary education as a young adult.

Data collected from 550 families through home interviews showed that, overall, attending any type of childcare had a positive effect on the children’s decisions to attend postsecondary education. Attendance in informal childcare was shown to benefit all children more or less equally on their adult educational outcomes, while attendance in formal childcare, however, only benefitted children from low- or no-income families.

This research builds on our growing understanding of the Family Work lens of the Vanier Institute’s Family Diversities Framework.

Garon-Carrier, G., Ansari, A., Letarte, M.-J., and Fitzpatrick, C. (2022). Early childcare enrollment and the pursuit of higher education: A Canadian longitudinal study. Learning and Instruction (80), 101615. doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2022.101615

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