Theses and Dissertations


Gail Lindsey

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Hare, R. Dwight

Committee Member

Howard, Esther

Committee Member

Grace, Cathy W.

Committee Member

Verhoek-Miller, Nancy

Committee Member

Taylor, Jan Cooper

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Elementary Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction


Educational and societal demands have drawn much attention to child care issues in America. Two pieces of legislation have had a tremendous impact on many society issues, but none more profoundly than that of center-based child care. Few societal issues have the potential to have such a dramatic impact on the lives of children, especially low-income children, as child care. The awareness of the importance of child care was also heightened by the scientific discoveries of brain development. The overwhelming results of the discoveries in brain development include the nature of learning and the importance of the critical periods in brain development. Scientists have neurological proof that the years before kindergarten are the most important years of development in a child's life. These are the years that a growing number of children, especially low-income children, are spending in child care. Research has documented the importance of early childhood experiences for not only educational achievement but also for adult outcomes. In spite of what is known about child development and the benefits of quality child care for healthy child development, many children do not have access to quality child care services. Although the benefits of quality child care are most evident with low-income children, they are the least likely to receive high quality child care services. The purpose of this study was to gather baseline data on the condition of child care services for low-income children in Mississippi as it existed in 2001. In doing so, the sample consisted of 100 child care centers that participated in the Partners for Quality Child Care Project. This descriptive study collected data using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale-Revised, the Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale, and the Caregiver Interaction Scale. The findings suggested that overall child care for preschools and infant/toddlers was minimal. This level of child care meets the basic standards of health and safety without much opportunity for many developmentally appropriate experiences. However, an investigation of the caregiver interaction as measured by the Caregiver Interaction Scale revealed that there was some evidence that caregivers in 2001 provided care that was warm and supportive.