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Early childcare does not impede children's progress, says study

Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 03/12/2015. Early childcare does not impede children's progress, says studyTags: Parenting

A study of children in creche and childcare facilities have found that there is no difference in children's development between those cared by at home, by a grandparent or in a childcare facility from the age of 3.

The study, Growing Up in Ireland, is a government-funded study of children being carried out jointly by the ESRI and Trinity College Dublin, and surveyed over 9000 children to understand the effects a child’s cognitive development may have as a result of early child care.

The ESRI found that small children starting childcare as early as nine months had no effect on children’s cognitive (language and reasoning) outcomes at age five.

However, it found ‘that long hours of care (30 hours or more per week) that were associated with a small negative effect on vocabulary at age 3, regardless of the type of childcare. Reasoning abilities did not appear to be affected by hours of care.’

One key issue of the report found that the quality of childcare could have a positive or negative impact on child’s development, ‘with high quality care had a beneficial effect while poor quality childcare had a negative effect.’ the report authors said.

The report found the man influences on children’s cognitive outcomes:

  • The child’s gender
  • Language spoken at home
  • Number of older siblings
  • Parents’ education
  • Parenting practices
  • Home learning environment

  • Other Key points:

  • The report found that by age five, 96% of the 9,000 children surveyed had taken part in the Free Pre-school Year.

  • Just 27% of the children were attending childcare at age three, showing that the scheme increased access considerably

  • 22% of parents said they would not have been able to afford to send their child to pre-school without the Free Pre-school Year. This figure rose to 36% among parents in the lowest income quintile and 38% of parents with low education.

  • Commenting on the findings today, Dr Helen Russell from the ESRI, one of the report’s authors noted:

    “The first five years of life are of critical importance in children’s cognitive development. This study highlights that when tested at age 5, children who attended childcare at age 3 did as well as those cared for solely by their parents. A key issue for the future is evaluating the quality of care received in different settings.”


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