Study shows consistent benefit of early daycare
The latest results from the long-running U.S. National Institutes of Health study show children in high-quality childcare scored slightly higher on measures of academic and cognitive achievement years later as teenagers.
They were also slightly less likely to act out than peers who were in lower-quality childcare, the researchers reported.
But children who spent the most hours in childcare had a slightly greater tendency toward impulsiveness and risk-taking at age 15 than teens who had spent less time in childcare, the researchers wrote in the journal Child Development.
Quality for childcare is usually measured by how much time the provider spends interacting with the children, as well as warmth, support and cognitive stimulation.
The ongoing study is meant to inform the policy debate on whether both parents should work when children are young and whether providing childcare is good for the children, their parents and society as a whole.
“High quality child care appears to provide a small boost to academic performance, perhaps by fostering the early acquisition of school readiness skills,” said James Griffin of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the NIH institute that paid for the study.
“The current findings reveal that the modest association between early childcare and subsequent academic achievement and behavior seen in earlier study findings persists through childhood and into the teen years.”
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