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Child Care Quality and Cognitive Development: Trajectories Leading to Better Preacademic Skills


  • This study was made possible by grants to SMC, JRS, and RET from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (MOP 79420), and to SMC from the Canadian Council on Learning and from the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation (2005–2006 CPRF).

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Sylvana M. Côté, GRIP, Ste-Justine Research Center, 3175, chemin Côte Ste-Catherine, Montréal, QC H3T 1C5, Canada. Electronic mail may be sent to


The associations between trajectories of child care quality from ages 2 to 4 years and children's cognitive performance at 4 years (= 250) were tested. Distinct quality trajectories were identified: low and high ascending Teaching and Interactions trajectory; low and high Provision for Learning trajectory. Membership in the high ascending Teaching and Interactions trajectory was associated with better numeracy (effect size [ES] = .39, confidence interval [CI] = .21–.66), receptive vocabulary (ES = .41, CI = .14–.68), and school readiness (ES = .32, CI = .06–.58). The results suggest that a pattern of increasing quality of teacher–child interactions during the preschool years, particularly with regard to supporting the development of language, has a moderate impact on children's cognitive development.