An extended bibliography of IEA publications and study-related reports is online. Many of the publications can be downloaded free of charge.
The IEA Preprimary Project (PPP) was a longitudinal study designed to explore the quality of life of preschool children in the various care and educational environments provided for them (such as preschools, child care centers, or family day care centers), and to assess how these environments affected their development.
The study was conducted in three phases. Phase 1 produced profiles of national policies on the care and education of young children, and applied a household survey to identify and characterize the major early childhood care and educational settings used by families with four-year-old children in each country. Phase 2 explored the impact of programmatic and familial factors on the development of children at age four using extensive observational and interview methods. Phase 3 completed the project by documenting how early experiences affected children's development at age seven, an age by which all children in the participating countries had received at least one year of formal schooling. The purpose of this final phase was to examine the relationship between early childhood experiences at age four and children's cognitive and language development at age seven, all of which were relevant to primary school performance and success. The data for Phase 1 were collected in 1987–1989, Phase 2 in 1992, and Phase 3 in 1995–1997.
The study was conducted on over 5,000 four-year-old children (with a follow-up at age seven) in nearly 2,000 educational settings.
Participating education systems
Phase 1: Belgium (French), China, Finland, Germany (FRG), Hong Kong, Italy, Nigeria, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, and United States.
Phase 2: Belgium (French), China, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, and United States.
Phase 3: Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, and United States.
Care at home
In every country in the study, irrespective of its stage of economic development, mothers had the most responsibility for the care and supervision of young children. Fathers took only a minor part in raising them. The trend from parental care to the use of external parental care and educational services for children of preschool age was related to the movement of women into the formal, paid workforce.
Out-of-home child care and educational services in most countries were sponsored primarily by governmental or religious organizations. Employer-provided care was uncommon except in China.
Those children who experienced extra parental care and educational services spent substantial periods of time in these settings. These experiences played a large part in each child's physical, intellectual, and socio-emotional development.
In most types of early childhood settings, the adults working with the children included both professional staff (i.e., lead teacher or teacher) and lesser trained staff (i.e., teacher aide or day care assistant). About 90% of the teachers were female. The average age of the teachers was between 26 and 43 years; their average education ranged from 12.6 years to 16.7 years. More than 80% of the teachers were certified.
The group size for early childhood programs ranged from 11 to 30 children per group. The larger group sizes were found in Asian and African countries. The median staff-to-child ratio was between 1:10 and 1:20.
Education of young children
Both teachers and parents considered it most important for young children to learn social, language, and self-sufficiency skills. There were many patterns of teacher-parent congruence concerning the order of importance of these skills. These patterns ranged from a very high level of agreement (Finland, Romania, Poland) to extensive disagreement (China, Indonesia, Ireland).
At least 90% of parents in every country reported that they were "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the care and educational services that their children received.
For more information, please visit the Preprimary Project website.
High/Scope Foundation. (1994). Sights and sounds of children: High/Scope international videotape series [Set of 15 videotapes]. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.
Montie, J.E., Xiang, Z., & Schweinhart, L.J. (Eds.). (2007). The role of preschool experience in children's development: Longitudinal findings from 10 countries. The IEA Preprimary Project Phase 3. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.
Olmsted, P.P., & Montie, J. (Eds.). (2001). Early childhood settings in 15 countries: What are their structural characteristics? Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.
Olmsted, P.P., & Weikart, D.P. (Eds.). (1989). How nations serve young children: Profiles of child care and education in 14 countries. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.
Olmsted, P.P., & Weikart, D.P. (Eds.) (1994). Families speak: Early childhood care and education in 11 countries. The IEA Preprimary Project Phase 1 [Softcover edition]. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.
Olmsted, P.P., & Weikart, D.P. (Eds.) (1995). The IEA Preprimary Study: Early childhood care and education in 11 countries [Hardcover edition]. Oxford: Pergamon Press.
Weikart, D.P. (Ed.). (1999). What should young children learn? Teacher and parent views in 15 countries. The IEA Preprimary Project Phase 2. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.
Weikart, D.P., Olmsted, P.P., & Montie, J. (Eds.). (2003). A world of preschool experience: Observations in 15 countries. The IEA Preprimary Project Phase 2. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press.