A new study investigates the impact of childcare from birth to 51 months on children’s cognitive development at 51 months.
Published in the International Journal of Behavioral Development,
it used data from the Families, Children and Child Care study, which
recorded the details of 978 children in London and Oxfordshire.
Information on family demographics, the home environment, and duration
and quality of childcare were captured at various time points. Cognitive
ability at 51 months was measured using the British Ability Scales,
which measures verbal ability (eg, verbal comprehension and naming
vocabulary) and non-verbal ability (eg, pattern construction and picture
Group-based care was beneficial for cognitive development and
non-verbal ability (but not verbal ability) before school entry.
Home-based care, whether by paid or unpaid carers, relatives or
non-relatives, had relatively little impact. The quality of group-based
care had only marginal positive effects, although the sample size for
this part of the study was small.
Unusually, the participants in the study included a substantial
number of advantaged families. Professional families and mothers with
university degrees were both associated with higher cognitive scores,
but even taking those factors into account there was still a small but
significant added value of group-based childcare.
Source: Amount and Timing of Group-Based Childcare from Birth and Cognitive Development at 51 Months (2016), International Journal of Behavioral Development.