Characterizing early childhood education programs for poor and middle-class children


Deborah Stipek


Denise Daniels


Darlene Galluzzo


Sharon Milburn

Year of Publication: 
Early Childhood Research Quarterly

Detailed observations were done of instructional practices and the social climate of 62 preschool and kindergarten programs serving poor and middle-classchildren. Analyses revealed strong relationships between the nature of instruction (i.e., the degree to which basic skills and performance outcomes were stressed) and the social context (e.g., teacher warmth and responsiveness). Analysesrevealed that both preschool and kindergarten programs could be divided into three types: (a) “didactic” programs in which academic skills were stressed in a relatively negative social context; (b) “child-centered” programs, which deemphasized basic academic skills and offered a positive social context; and (c) “intermediate” programs, which fall in between these two extremes. Teachers' beliefs about appropriate education for young children were associated with the kind of program they taught in, but teachers' levels of education and experience, and school policies regarding formal evaluation, retention, and testing were not.

APA Citation

Stipek, D., Daniels, D., Galluzzo, D., & Milburn, S. (1992). Characterizing early childhood education programs for poor and middle-class children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 7(1), 1–19.