Enhancing the Quality of Infant and Toddler Care in New York City: Variation Across EarlyLearn Settings

Jeanne L. Reid, Samantha A. Melvin, Sharon Lynn Kagan, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, National Center for Children and Families at Teachers College, Columbia University

Click here to view the full report.

Executive Summary:

This study compares the characteristics of New York City’s EarlyLearn programs for infants and toddlers that are located in centers and family child care (FCC) settings with a focus on their experience of EarlyLearn quality-enhancement efforts in the current policy landscape. The study also examines the views of directors and teachers in these settings on how best to promote the quality of programs for infants and toddlers. Employing a mixed-methods design, we collected data in 2019 from surveys of 32 center directors, 32 center teachers, and 30 FCC leaders, who act as both directors and teachers. The study is intended to complement the prior NCCF study, Building a Unified System for Universal Pre-K in New York City: The Implementation of Pre-K for All by Setting and Auspice (2018), which compared the characteristics and quality of Pre-K for All programs in schools and New York Early Education Centers (NYCEECs).

Data were collected via three surveys, one for FCC leaders, one for center directors, and one for center teachers. The surveys contain a mix of close-ended and open-ended questions that address program characteristics and management; director and teacher characteristics, compensation,  and well-being; instructional approach, practice, and content; program quality and job perceptions; and professional development. Data from the surveys were analyzed to identify statistically significant differences between centers and FCCs. After describing our sample, data, and analytic methods, we present the results, key findings, and their policy implications.

We note with gratitude that this work was made possible by the generous support of the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute at City University of New York and the Heising-Simons Foundation.