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The Top Six

According to experts, there are six critical elements that determine whether a child care center is high quality.

In recent decades, governments in Latin America and the Caribbean have expanded the coverage of child care services. This policy primarily sought to allow mothers to enter the labor market. However, less attention has been paid to the need to guarantee that child care centers provide high-quality experiences at a key time in the child’s life.

Childhood is a crucial stage for learning, health and the future nutrition of every child. The economic benefits of childhood development programs are up to 19 times greater than their costs. This means more education, better jobs and better health for the children who attend them.


Overview of Early Childhood Development Services in Latin America and the Caribbean

Authors: María Caridad Araujo, Florencia López-Boo and Juan Manuel Puyana. August 2013.

The number of child care services in Latin America and the Caribbean has grown in recent years in order to facilitate women’s access to the labor force. However, less attention has been paid to the need to ensure that child care centers provide high-quality services. The main objective of this study is to collect and systematize detailed, updated and comparable information about the design, management, funding and quality of child development services in the region.


Early Learning Guidelines in Latin America and the Caribbean

Authors: Christine Harris-Van Keuren and Diana Rodríguez Gómez. January 2013.

A new analysis from the IDB determines that the vast majority of curricular content at child care centers in the region does not include child development indicators such as interculturality, the teaching of a second language, or peaceful conflict resolution. This report presents a comparative analysis of the early learning guidelines of 19 programs serving children under age 3.



Early Childhood Development in Mexico (only in Spanish)

Authors: Robert Myers, Arcelia Martínez, Marco Antonio Delgado, Juan Luis Fernández and Adriana Martínez. January 2013.

The prevailing notion of child development as the spontaneous result of good health, nutrition and care rather than a comprehensive process that includes and promotes children’s motor, cognitive, language, social and emotional development continues to persist. This study analyzes options to improve early childhood development in Mexico.


Early Childhood stimulation interventions in developing countries: a comprenhensive literature review

Authors: Helen Baker-Henningham and Florencia Lopez Boo. September 2010.

What works in terms of early stimulation for young children in developing countries? For whom and under what conditions do these programs work and why is it that they work? This report reviews the effectiveness of early childhood stimulation interventions in developing countries.


Intercontinental Evidence on Socioeconomic Status and Early Childhood: Cognitive Skills: Is Latin America Different?

Author: Florencia López Bóo. August 2013.

This paper documents disparities in cognitive development- as measured by a receptive vocabulary test-between children from households with high and low socioeconomic status (SES) in two different phases of childhood (before and after early school years) in four developing countries: Peru, Ethiopia, India, and Vietnam. Intercontinental evidence on the timing, shape, pattern, and persistence of these disparities is provided. The nonparametric analysis suggests that disparities found at age 5 persist into the early school years across all four countries, and the conditional analysis shows that SES disparities seem to fall over time. However, both the magnitude of the gap and the degree of persistence vary. The main result is that Peru stands out, not only as the country with the largest cross-section disparity between rich and poor (of around 1.30-1.40 standard deviations), but also as the country with the highest persistence in cognitive development, as shown by the value-added specification. The latter suggests fewer opportunities for convergence in cognitive development between rich and poor over time in this Latin American country. Some channels behind these trends are discussed, but overall, the SES gradient persists even when controlling for a large number of important mediators, such as preschool, early nutrition, and schooling. Past performance on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) is the most important mediator of the SES gradient at age 8.

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