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Abstract

Millions of American families with preschool children utilize child care settings each day. Since the number of mothers in the work force has increased drastically in the last two decades (O’Neill & O’Connell, 2001), it is estimated that almost 12 million children younger than age 5 spend part of their days in the care of people other than their parents (U. S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2002). Child care settings include day care homes and day care centers. In Muscogee County, Georgia, there are 99 state-registered day care homes and 62 state-licensed day care centers. In the eight-county area of west Georgia including the counties of Chattahoochee, Clay, Harris, Marion, Muscogee, Quitman, Stewart and Talbot, there is an estimated registered and licensed child care capacity for 7033 children (Child Care Resource & Referral Agency of West Georgia at Columbus, 2005). The experiences that young children receive in child care settings can serve as building blocks for literacy and as bridges to academic success in elementary school.

Author's Biographies

Dr. Vikki K. Collins is Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at Columbus State University. Her research interests include literacy development, effective preschool programs, and components of an integrated early childhood curriculum.

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