Childcare studies

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Registered: 01-02-2008
Childcare studies
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Fri, 08-08-2008 - 7:37pm

3 New Studies Assess Effects of Child Care

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By TAMAR LEWIN
Published: November 1, 2005

For most working parents, no other issue is so fraught with worry as the choice of child care. In a field long plagued by overheated headlines and complicated political overtones, three new studies offer some solid information on the pros and cons of different arrangements.

Two bolster research that found that long hours in group child care are linked to better reading and math skills but worse social skills and more behavioral problems. The third suggests that children in child care centers are safer than those who receive care in private homes, whether in a neighbor's home or by a nanny in the child's own home.

Four years ago, the nation's most ambitious and longest-running child care study sparked a firestorm with its findings that 4½-year-olds who had spent more than 30 hours a week in child care were more demanding, more aggressive and more noncompliant than others, regardless of the type or quality of care, the family's socioeconomic status or the sensitivity of the mother's parenting.

Now a new report from that research - the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Study of Early Child Care - has tracked the same children through early elementary school and found that by third grade, those who had spent long hours in child care continued to score higher in math and reading skills and that their higher likelihood of aggressive behavior had dissipated. But it also found that they still had poorer work habits and social skills.

Researchers cautioned that the findings should not be a cause of alarm, since the effects of child care were found to be small.

"It isn't that these kids are more likely to have clinical levels of behavior problems," said Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, a professor of child development at Columbia University. "You're getting a slight uptick, but it's still in the normal range."

Generally, the effects of child care were much smaller than the effects of good or bad parenting.

"Virtually across the board, the effects of parenting are greater than the effects of child care, so some people might say we don't need to worry about the small effects of child care," said Cathryn Booth-LaForce of the University of Washington, a researcher on the study.

"But child care affects so many children that for society at large, even small effects are important," Professor Booth-LaForce added. "We have to consider whether we're creating a generation of children who have slightly less self-control, slightly more behavior problems, and whether teachers will have to spend a little more time on classroom management and a little less on instruction."

A separate study, being released today and based on a nationally representative sample of more than 14,000 kindergartners, found that while center-based day care programs modestly benefited middle-class children in early language and mathematics learning, youngsters from poor families experienced double those gains.

"Compared to many homes, preschool centers are richer settings in terms of enriched language, reading and math," said Bruce Fuller, a co-author of this report, "The Influence of Preschool Centers on Children's Development Nationwide: How Much Is Too Much?"

The report, by sociologists at Stanford and the University of California, found that cognitive skills in prereading and math were strongest when children entered a center-based program from age 2 to 3.

But it also found that on average, the earlier a child enters center-based care, the slower the pace of social development. The greatest effect was among high-income children. Youngsters who were from families with income of at least $66,000 and who spent more than 30 hours a week in center-based care had the weakest social skills - including diminished levels of cooperation, sharing and motivated engagement in classroom tasks, along with greater aggression - compared with similar children who remained at home with a parent.

Another study, being published today in The American Sociological Review, is apparently the first broad research into safety in child care. It found that the rate of death among children receiving care in private homes was 16 times that of children in child care centers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/01/national/01child.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008
Fri, 08-08-2008 - 7:39pm

Page two of that article.....

(Page 2 of 2)

"Fatalities are the tip of the iceberg, and they're fortunately very rare, but they do reveal something about what goes on in centers," said Julia Wrigley, a sociologist and acting associate provost at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, who wrote the report with Joanna Dreby. "No one kind of child care is clearly and definitely better for all children, but in terms of safety there are advantages in centers."

Infants are by far the most vulnerable children in care, Professor Wrigley found, and most often die from being shaken, usually by a caregiver stressed by constant crying. In a database she put together from state records, legal cases and news reports covering 1989 to 2003, she found 203 shaken-baby deaths in care in a private home and not a single one in a child care center.

It was a shaken-baby death that prompted her project.

"I was on the Phil Donahue show talking about a book I'd written on the relationship between parents and the caregivers they hire in their home, and another woman on at the same time had a baby who was shaken to death by the nanny," Professor Wrigley said. "As a sociologist, that got me thinking that with eight million kids in paid child care every day, there must be some safety data out there somewhere. But there wasn't."

Professor Wrigley found that the risks of injury and sexual abuse were both highest in family day care - a usually informal arrangement in which several children receive care together in a private home - while child care centers had the highest rate of near-miss incidents, as when a child wandered off onto a highway, for instance, or was left in a van.

Some child care experts said the latest research should help define the next generation of studies.

"We really need to begin to look more carefully at what is going on among the children in child care," said Deborah A. Phillips, a professor of psychology at Georgetown University. "It may be that we're not doing a good job of training teachers on peer relationships, on how you foster cooperation and empathy."

Most of all, Professor Phillips said, negative findings on child care should serve as a call to action.

"Child care is the fraught issue for parents," she said. "But I think the story here is when we are going to stop wringing our hands and start assuring better child care choices for parents."

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/01/national/01child.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008
Fri, 08-08-2008 - 7:46pm
*Tawk amongst yaselves* I'm headed out for the weekend, I'll add my thoughts next week! Have a good weekend all.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2006
Fri, 08-08-2008 - 7:46pm

What I find puzzzling about these studies is since there is really no control group how can they tell of what they are attribiting to childcare has anything at all to do with childcare. Maybe these differences are because of personality differences, IQ differences and because of differerences of being raised in different households.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-08-2006
Fri, 08-08-2008 - 8:27pm

These two statements sum it up in a nutshell:

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eileen

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2007
Fri, 08-08-2008 - 9:26pm
OMG those were the two I picked out as well!

**************************************************


Sandi--Mommy to Ryan 7/24/07


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Fri, 08-08-2008 - 10:45pm

I'm gonna steal Katie's thoughts on studies.


There is no study that was done on my kids.

suzjuly6.jpg picture by LadyCaribou

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2001
Sat, 08-09-2008 - 7:27am

Exactly.

 

Linda - wife, mother, grandmum                     &nb

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-20-2001
Sat, 08-09-2008 - 7:32am

Might as well take down my sign and

 

Linda - wife, mother, grandmum                     &nb

Avatar for mkatherine
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 08-09-2008 - 8:42am

my friends who have been on this board with me for years will forgive me for repeating this but I am the Queen of Anti Studies. I have never read a child care study. I don't intend to. I have no interest in any study except the one child study of Liza Rose. She is happy. she is healthy. She has a wickedly sarcastic sense of humor. She loves me. I love her. She's getting all As in school and is a solid defense on the soccer team. She plays clarinet and loves edamame beans. She is a complex human being and so is her mother and a study with graphs and charts and exclamation points and percentages will tell me notihgn about Liza's life. So here is my one-child study for you:

She was born
She stayed home for 3 months with mom in the hottest summer on record when mom nearly had a nervous breakdown from the incessent crying (moms not babies)
She went to a large loving daycare center for five years.
mom went back to her job that she loved
mom and dad got divorced - mom came out of the closet
Liza went to kindergarten
then she went to school
Dad got married
Liza's going into fourth grade and very exctied about being on th "top floor" of St. Catherines'
She's happy. She's busy. She loves us. She rocks.

end of study.

"If gay Americans are not allowed to get married and have all the benefits that American citizens are entitled to by the Bill of Rights, they should get one hell of a tax break. That is my opinion,"

- Jeane "Dear Abby" Phillips, in an interview with Lisa Leff.

 

Yes. We. Did.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-08-2006
Sat, 08-09-2008 - 9:02am

by the way, when my kids WERE in their preschools they LOVED the sand & water table!!!!

eileen

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