The influence of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) on children’s cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes at age 5 to 6

2nd December 2019 : 00:45 - 14:00

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Quantitative Methods Hub

Speaker: Ted Melhuish & Julian Gardiner, Department of Education, Oxford

Location: Seminar Room A, Department of Education

Convener: Steve Strand

Seminar Abstract


SEED is an ongoing longitudinal cohort study of families in England, exploring the influence of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) on children’s later educational outcomes. SEED examines the effects on children’s cognitive and socio-emotional outcomes at age 5 to 6 of children’s ECEC use considered in three categories:
1. Formal group ECEC in playgroups, nursery classes and nursery schools.
2. Formal individual ECEC with childminders.
3. Informal individual ECEC with friends and relatives.

Both informal individual and formal group ECEC use are associated with better child verbal ability at age 5, although for formal group ECEC this effect is found only for children who experience poorer home learning environments. There is also evidence that higher levels of formal ECEC use may be associated with poorer child socio-emotional outcomes at age 6; this contrasts with the mainly positive associations between formal ECEC use and child socio-emotional outcomes which were found at ages 3 and 4. There is some evidence that children may benefit most from a combination of group and individual care.

About the speakers


Edward Melhuish is Professor of Human Development at the University of Oxford, and Birkbeck, University of London.

Julian Gardiner is working for Professor Edward Melhuish on a number of studies focusing on the potential influence of children’s early home and pre-school / nursery experiences on later educational attainment. These include the Study of Early Education and Development (SEED) project.



In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

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