Preschool quality and child development in China

Yufen SU, Nirmala RAO, Jin SUN, Li ZHANG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the association between observed preschool quality (assessed by the Measure of Early Learning Environments) and children’s holistic development (measured by the East Asia-Pacific Early Child Development Scales) and explored whether area of residence moderated this association. Participants were 681 4- and 5-year-olds from 52 classrooms in Shanghai and in Guizhou province of China. Results indicated that preschool quality was higher in Shanghai than in Guizhou and lowest in rural Guizhou. Preschool quality was positively associated with child outcomes, after adjusting for child, family, and program characteristics and area of residence. Moderation analyses showed a weaker association between preschool quality and child development in urban Guizhou and urban Shanghai than in rural Guizhou, suggesting that preschool quality may be particularly beneficial for children living in poor, rural areas. Reasons for and implications of the findings are discussed. Copyright © 2021 Published by Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-26
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Early online date05 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


Su, Y., Rao, N., Sun, J., & Zhang, L. (2021). Preschool quality and child development in China. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 56, 15-26. doi: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2021.02.003


  • Preschool quality
  • Early childhood development
  • Area of residence
  • China


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