Robert Crosnoe of the University of Texas at Austin and colleagues analyzed care in children from birth to age 4 1/2, using surveys, observations and physical exams. The children's start in school was monitored as well.
Children who received high quality care before school were more prepared to start school, had mothers who were more involved with school, and benefited from their moms' involvement in their education, the researchers said.
"Mothers tended to be more school-involved when their children had longer histories of high-quality care since birth," Crosnoe said in a statement. "High quality care is important on many levels. And this is true for people who need care for practical reasons, like parents who work and, for example, parents who want to expose their children to peers or who are seeking enriching preschool environments for their kids."