New research suggests that kids in quality childcare centres may have better outcomes than those who are cared for by family or close to home.
“Better psychological development”
New findings published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health assert that “attendance at a nursery/crèche staffed by professionals may be linked to better psychological development than being looked after by family/friends or a childminder in early childhood,” Science Daily reports.
Further, the research team found that attending a centre staffed by early childhood educators was associated with (and we quote) – “lower odds of poor social skills, difficult relationships with peers and behavioural issues.”
Children that attend centres for more than a year do especially well, it was found.
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Eight year study
The research team tracked 1428 French children from birth up to the age of eight.
Analysis of the resulting data showed that children who received formal care – via créche, nursery school or daycare centres – were less likely to have emotional and behavioural problems, and more likely to have better social skills, than those who had been looked after by family/friends,
Children who had been cared for by a childminder were more likely to have behavioural issues, the researchers say.
The suggestion is that “a combination of the mental stimulus derived from play, praise, and reading, along with rules to follow, and quality child-caregiver interactions” provides an environment where kids thrive best.
More work to be done
The team noted that girls seem to do especially well in quality childcare centres, but that boys too did better than in family or childminder care.
The researchers stress that further work needs to be done, and “the families studied were better educated and more affluent than the average for France” which may have influenced their findings.
They concluded that “access to high-quality childcare in the first years of life may improve children’s emotional and cognitive development, prevent later emotional difficulties and promote prosocial behaviours.”