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The latest in a series of reports from the major national study of early years education in England has been published today, uncovering the effects of early education and childcare for two year olds.

Early Education helps both language and emotional development

The Study of Early Education and Development (SEED), which is following almost 6,000 children in England from age two through to the end of KS1 (age seven), found a significant positive effect of early education at age two on language and socio-emotional development when children were assessed at age three. The benefits of early education and care were found regardless of a child’s family level of disadvantage.

Specifically education and care with childminders at age two had a significant positive effect on children’s language development and behaviour at the age of three.

Group based settings such as nurseries and playgroups were also shown to have positive effects on children’s socio-emotional development including how well they get along with other children.

Home life provides wide ranging benefits

The study also found the beneficial effects of the home environment on child development, independent of the positive outcomes for early childhood education and care.  Notably, even children with rich home environments stand to benefit from time in early years education and care.

The study found that a rich home learning environment, how often parents used measures to set limits for child behaviour, and degree of closeness between the parent and the child were associated with improved language and non-verbal development. They were also linked to fewer emotional and behavioural problems and better prosocial behaviour and self-regulation at age three.

15 Hours funded early education for disadvantaged two-year-olds

Another key aim of this report was to consider the take-up of early education among two-year-olds following the introduction of 15 hours of funded early education for this age group. While the study did not see increased take-up in the year following the introduction of the policy, DfE census data, including the latest published last month, have indicated increased take-up in subsequent years amongst disadvantaged children. This is particularly important in the context that disadvantaged children are less likely to take up early childhood education and care, and so stand to benefit substantially given differences observed from an early age.

Another report published as part of the SEED research analyses the overall value for money of early education associated with different types of provision.

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