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Reference

Quote

Child Care: Who Benefits?
by Jennifer Buckingham
Centre for Independent Studies,
Executive Summary No. 89, p. 6
www.cis.org.au
24-Oct-2007
The findings can be briefly summarised: high-quality child care is better for children than low quality child care, when quality is measured by staff/child ratios, staff qualifications, learning programmes and physical environment. This is true for all children, but especially for children from impoverished homes.
Equally important, however, is what these studies do not show. They do not show that centre-based child care is superior to parental care for all children. They do not show that long hours in centre-based child care are beneficial (or even harmless) for all children.
They do not show that centre-based child care is beneficial (or even harmless) for babies and infants, except those whose parental care is poor.
Category = Behavior, Development, Quality
Child Care: Who Benefits?
by Jennifer Buckingham
Centre for Independent Studies,
Executive Summary No. 89, p. 6
www.cis.org.au
24-Oct-2007

Cortisol research gives us a better indication that young children’s experience of child care is not benign. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone, and is released by the body when humans experience a threat, feel unsafe, or unsure of themselves.

...The normal pattern of cortisol release is a peak in the morning and a decline throughout the day. US researcher Sarah Watamura and colleagues found that seven out of ten children aged one-and-a-half to 3 years increased their cortisol output throughout the day at child care, but most of these same children did not have elevated cortisol levels on their days at home
Category = Disease

Child Care: Who Benefits?
by Jennifer Buckingham
Centre for Independent Studies,
Executive Summary No. 89, p. 7
www.cis.org.au
24-Oct-2007
...children who had received high hours of care had poorer academic ratings, whereas children whose child care had been less extensive were rated as more competent learners.

University of Melbourne academic Kay Margetts has looked at the relationship between duration, timing and type of childcare and adjustment in the first year of formal schooling. She found that ‘more extensive non-parental care in the years closest to birth increases the risk of children having difficulty adjusting to the first year of schooling in all domains; social, behavioural and academic.’ Margetts did not find any significant
difference in the risks associated with types of non-parental care: early onset and long hours of all non-parental care increased the risk of later problems, especially behavioural.
Category = Behavior, Development, Quality

Child Care: Who Benefits?
by Jennifer Buckingham
Centre for Independent Studies,
Executive Summary No. 89, p. 8-9
www.cis.org.au
24-Oct-2007
(Anne Manne wrote) "in modern societies, on every health issue, the agreed principle is that every person adopting a recommended course of action should know the risks as well as the suggested benefits."

The evidence suggests that well-designed, tightly-targeted programmes can be effective for children from socioeconomically disadvantaged families, but it does not justify universal child care.

ANU economist Andrew Leigh agrees with Heckman and has argued that Australian policy-makers are aware of the research evidence and have ‘read the headline but skipped the story’. As a result, taxpayer dollars are flowing to universal, low-impact early childhood programmes instead of intensive programmes where they are most needed.

The most that can be said with any certainty, based on early-intervention studies, is that children from socially and economically disadvantaged families can benefit from high-quality child care, probably best delivered on a part-time basis. It is by no means clear that such advantages extend to the broader range of children, or to full-time formal child care for infants. A case for increased public funding of universal child care cannot, therefore, be based on these claims.
Category = Behavior, Development, Politics, Quality

 

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