Original Research

Early Childhood Education, Child Development and School Readiness: Evidence from Zambia

Stephanie Simmons Zuilkowski, Gunther Fink, Corrina Moucheraud, Beatrice Matafwali
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 2, No 2 | a15 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v2i2.15 | © 2012 Stephanie Simmons Zuilkowski, Gunther Fink, Corrina Moucheraud, Beatrice Matafwali | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 2014 | Published: 30 December 2012

About the author(s)

Stephanie Simmons Zuilkowski, Harvard Graduate School of education, United States
Gunther Fink, Harvard University, United States
Corrina Moucheraud, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, United States
Beatrice Matafwali, University of Zamibia, Zambia

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While early childhood education has received increasing attention in the developing world in recent years, relatively little evidence is available from sub-Saharan Africa on its effects on child development and subsequent school enrolment. We use a prospective case-control design to evaluate the developmental impact of a community-based early childhood center in an urban area in Zambia. Comparing 40 children attending the center to 40 children not attending the center from the same community, we find that center attendance was associated with significantly better performance in an assessment of task orientation, and was also weakly associated with increased letter familiarity. We also observed higher performance among center students on tests of receptive language and pencil-related fine motor skills. These associations were, however, smaller and not statistically significant. We conducted a follow-up one year after the initial assessment, when children were seven years old and should have been in first grade. At follow-up, 27% of non-attendees were not yet enrolled in primary school, compared to just 11% of center students, suggesting that participation in early education encourages a timely transition into first grade.


Early childhood care, school readiness, assessment tools


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Crossref Citations

1. Early Childhood Care and Education and School Readiness in Zambia
Dana Charles McCoy, Stephanie Simmons Zuilkowski, Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Günther Fink
Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness  vol: 10  issue: 3  first page: 482  year: 2017  
doi: 10.1080/19345747.2016.1250850