Child Care and Early Education Research Connections

Skip to main content

How do caregivers select preschools?: A study of children with and without disabilities

Little is known about how parents and other caregivers conceptualize preschool quality, or what factors they prioritize when selecting a preschool. Caregivers of children with disabilities have the additional challenge of finding a preschool that can address their children's special needs. Objective We explored the factors caregivers valued when selecting a preschool for their children, how these factors categorized into structural, process, and familial quality, and how caregiver characteristics related to preschool selection factors. We also compared caregivers' preschool selection factors with the observed quality of their children's preschool classroom. Methods In this study, 407 caregivers with children in 54 early childhood special education classrooms completed surveys regarding how they selected their children's preschool. Classroom quality was assessed for each classroom, and compared to caregivers' preschool selection factors. Results Findings showed that caregivers prioritized interpersonal teacher characteristics and safety when selecting preschools. Caregivers' felt that process elements of quality were more important than structural or familial elements of quality. Caregivers whose child had a disability were more likely to prioritize structural elements of quality than caregivers whose child did not have a disability. No relationship was found between caregivers' preschool selection factors and the quality of the classrooms in which their children were enrolled. Conclusion These findings provide insight for those wishing to make preschool programs more amenable to the needs of caregivers, particularly those of children with disabilities. Understanding caregivers' preschool selection factors also deepens the theoretical understanding of preschool quality. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

Related resources include summaries, versions, measures (instruments), or other resources in which the current document plays a part. Research products funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation are related to their project records.

- You May Also Like

These resources share similarities with the current selection. They are found by comparing the topic, author, and resource type of the currently selected resource to the rest of the library’s publications.

The voices of early care and education: A qualitative perspective on providing and accessing high-quality early care and education

Reports & Papersview

Implementation of developmental screening in early childhood education: An investigation of process variables and acceptability

Reports & Papersview

The quest for equity and quality: Examining provider experiences and participation in Texas Rising Star

Reports & Papersview
Release: 'v1.9.0' | Built: 2022-06-13 15:23:18 EDT