For example, in a study of 414 children who resided in three states, Howes et al

For example, in a study of 414 children who resided in three states, Howes et al

More than half of the infant classrooms with ratios higher than 4:1 and preschool classrooms with ratios higher than 5:1 received scores that were categorized as “inadequate

When child:adult ratios are lower, caregivers spend less time managing children in their classrooms and children appear less apathetic and distressed (Ruopp, Travers, Glantz, and Coelen installment loans Massachusetts, 1979). When child:adult ratios are lower, caregivers offer more stimulating, responsive, warm, and supportive care (Clarke-Stewart, Gruber, and Fitzgerald, 1994; Howes, 1983; NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, 1996, in press-a; Phillipsen et al., 1997; Volling and Feagans, 1995). Ratios also are associated with global process quality scores (Burchinal, Roberts, Nabors, and Bryant, 1996; Howes, Phillips, and Whitebook, 1992; McCartney, et al., 1997; Scarr, Eisenberg, and Deater-Deckard, 1994; Whitebook, Howes, and Phillips, 1990). (1992) determined that “good” and “very good” scores on the ITERS and ECERS were more likely in infant classrooms with ratios of 3:1 or less, in toddler classrooms with ratios of 4:1 or less, and in preschool classrooms with ratios of 9:1 or less. ”

Group size also has been considered in relation to process quality. In simultaneous multiple regressions that included group size, ratio, caregiver education, and caregiver specialized training, the NICHD Study of Early Child Care (1996; in press-a) determined group size to be uniquely associated with positive caregiving. Similarly, Ruopp et al. (1979) reported group size to predict caregiver behavior even when child:adult ratio was controlled. These relations also are observed in child-care homes (Elicker, Fortner-Wood, and Noppe, 1999; Stith and Davis, 1984).

In these studies, caregivers were more responsive, socially stimulating, and less restrictive when there were fewer children in their classrooms

Caregivers‘ formal education and specialized training also are related to quality of care. Caregivers who have more formal education (NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, 1996; Phillipsen et al., 1997) and more specialized training pertaining to children (Arnett, 1989; Berk, 1985; Howes, 1983, 1997) offer care that is more stimulating, warm, and supportive. Highly educated and specially trained caregivers also are more likely to organize materials and activities into more age-appropriate environments for children (NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, 1996). These settings are more likely to receive higher scores on the global quality scales such as the ECERS, ITERS, ORCE, and CC-HOME (Clarke-Stewart, et al., 2000; Howes and Smith, 1995; NICHD Early Child Care Research Network, 1996, in press-a).

Repeated-measure analyses conducted for children in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care at 15, 24, and 36 months ascertained that group size and child:adult ratios were stronger predictors of process quality for infants, whereas caregiver educational background and training were stronger predictors of process quality for preschoolers (NICHD Study of Early Child Care, in press-a). These relations do not appear to be an artifact of restricted ranges. The standard deviations for caregiver formal education and caregiving training were similar at different assessment points. Standard deviations for ratio and group size increased for older children. The differential patterns, then, suggest the merits of an age-related strategy for improving process quality. Ratios and group size may be more critical for infant care; caregiver training and education may be more critical for preschoolers.

Caregiver wages is another factor associated with process quality (Howes, Phillips, and Whitebook, 1992; Scarr et al., 1994). See Table 1. In the Three-State Study, Scarr et al. reported teacher wages to be the single best predictor of process quality. In analyses of the Cost, Quality, and Outcome data set, Phillipsen et al. (1997) determined lead teachers wages to significantly predict scores on the ECERS and the Arnett sensitivity scales.