Effects of Classroom Practices and Funding Streams on Early Childhood Learning Outcomes

Xin Ma, Jianping Shen, Karen Brandi, Xuejin Lu, Marc Baron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Research Findings: Using a stratified random sample of 1494 preschoolers from 387 classrooms, we examined the relationship of early language and cognitive outcomes of children to classroom practices of early care and education practitioners and funding streams at various administrative levels in a survey-based pretest-posttest design. Results of hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) identified the robust effects of classroom organization on emergent literacy even after control over funding streams. After controlling for classroom practices, we identified the effects of three funding patterns. In a stimulating pattern, a combination of certain funding streams was effective in promoting emergent literacy. In an interfering pattern, a combination of certain funding streams undermined both mathematics skills and emergent literacy. In a replacing pattern, individual funding streams operating alone were not adequate to help falling-behind children. Policy or Practice: Professional development designed for preschool practitioners may want to include practical strategies to improve classroom organization. In seeking cooperation among funding streams to overcome the inadequacy of individual funding streams working alone, policymakers and educators should become aware of both the stimulating pattern and the interfering pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-342
Number of pages20
JournalEarly Education and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Florida where the present study was conducted is one of the few states that are experimenting with the combination of multiple funding streams (with different goals) to create a universal approach to preschool education which is open to all 4-year-old children. In Palm Beach County, four funding streams are used. One is Head Start, a well-known federally funded program, which provides services to children from low-income families. Voluntary Prekindergarten or VPK is funded by the State of Florida. School Readiness is the other state-funded program that offers qualified parents financial assistance for child care through a variety of services. Finally, Quality Counts is funded locally by Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County. With data collected by Children’s Services Council, we explored the interaction effects among funding streams on children’s gains in early childhood learning outcomes in the present study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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