Preschool and Daycare can mean Behavior Problems in Elementary School

Preschool and Daycare can mean Behavior Problems in Elementary School

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One perk the researchers point out in sending your child to a high quality preschool before kindergarten is that they score better in vocabulary in fifth grade than those who had less quality care. But on the flip side the NIH funded study found that the more a child spent in daycare environment in their early years, they showed a higher chance later on in 6th grade of having behavior problems that teachers report. For example, the complaints were typically, “gets in many fights,” “disobedient at school,” and “argues a lot.” The study was first reported in the March/April issue of Child Development.

The researchers did say the behavior differences were relatively small, and a bigger factor lies on the quality of parenting that the child was exposed as they were growing up, even if they were in daycare.

The studied tracked 1,364 children from birth as part of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development and is the largest and longest running study to understand the effects of child care. In 1991, the participants’ parents were recruited at hospital visits shortly after the birth of their child in 10 different locations across the US.

The researchers monitored the quality, quantity, and type of child care that the children received from the time they were born up to 54 months (4 years 6 months) old. Child care was described as anyone taking care of the child that wasn’t the child’s mother on a regular schedule for more than 10 hours per week. Child care could include fathers, grandparents, and other relatives.

The children were measured for academic achievement, cognitive abilities from kindergarten through 5th grade. They studied the social development from kindergarten through 6th grade. Factors that the researchers took into account were parenting quality, quality of the classroom instruction to compare the effects of child care on their development.

During the study, researchers measured the quality, quantity and type of child care the children received from birth until they were 54 months old. Child care was defined as care by anyone other than the child’s mother that was regularly scheduled for at least 10 hours per week. This included care by fathers, grandparents and other relatives.

The researchers then evaluated the children’s academic achievement, cognitive (intellectual) functioning from kindergarten through fifth grade and social development through sixth grade. Other factors, such as parenting quality and the quality of classroom instruction, were also measured. These other factors were taken into account when examining the association between early child care and children’s subsequent development. The study tracked children’s experience in child care. It was not designed to determine cause and effect and so could not demonstrate conclusively whether or not a given aspect of the child care experience had a particular effect.

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“These findings add to the growing body of research showing that the quality and type of child care a child experiences early in life can have a lasting impact on their development” said Dr. Griffin.

The researchers want to continue to study how these children will develop in high school to see if the behavior problem continues.

By Best Syndication Staff



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