Priority Populations

Early Child Care and the School Readiness of Children from Mexican Immigrant Families

Combining conceptual models from immigration and educational research, this study by former Young Scholar Robert Crosnoe, published in the International Migration Review (Volume 41, Number 1, Spring 2007) investigated whether a normative antecedent to the transition to formal schooling in the contemporary U.S. — early child care — links Mexican immigrant status to various aspects of school readiness.  Regression models with nationally representative data revealed that children from Mexican immigrant families were overrepresented in parental care and underrepresented in center-based care compared to their native peers from other race/ethnic populations, which helped to explain a significant but small portion of their generally lower rates of both math achievement and externalizing symptoms in kindergarten. This mediating role of early child care, however, paled in comparison to family socioeconomic circumstances.