Day Care

Developmental AS psychology

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What is Day Care?

Day Care - Temporary care provided by non-family members or people not well known to a child

Social development - acquiring relationships with others & the social skills needed to fit into a cultural group

Peer relationships - relationships with people of equal standing

Home care - parental care given to the children in their home enviornment

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For and Against


  • Separation from the primary care giver can result in deprivation leading to short and long term damage to social development
  • Daycare is (sometimes) inferior to home care as home care offers a more loving & stimulation environment.


  • Good quality day care is run by trained & motivated people who provide a stimulating environment & offer activities not avaliable at home.
  • Makes better mothers as mums who are free to work experience lower levels of stress, frustration & depression. They interact with their children in a more positive & friendly manner
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Negative effects of daycare on Aggression

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Positive effects of Daycare on Aggression

Dohery (1996) There was less likelihood of aggression if a child attends regular daycare - though the importance of high quality daycare was acknowledged.

  • This suggests that regular routine is related to aggression levels



NICHD (2004) found that children who spent the longest number of hours in daycare had the lowest levels of aggression, contradicting their earlier find as they had previously used mothers observations rather than objective observations of teachers & carers that were used in this study.

  • Again suggesting that time spent in daycare is important.
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Evaluation of the effects of daycare on aggression

  • Heightened levels of aggression maybe apparent among children in daycare simply because there is a greater social interaction & more opportunity for aggression to arise.
  • Family features, like the quality of the home environment and parental attitudes were a stronger indicator of aggression levels than quality of daycare. Suggesting that quantity of daycare isn't the most important factor.
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Positive affects of daycare on peer relations

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Negative effects of daycare on peer relatios

Gunnar (1997) measured cortisol levels as an indicator of stress & found that daycare was more challenging for less socially competent children who had negative interations with peers.

  • Daycare may harm peer relationships in some children.

Guralnick (1996) found that children with disabilities interacted with peers less often and are less well accepted.

  • suggesting that daycare may not be beneficial for all children in developing peer relations
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Evaluation of the effects of daycare on peer relat

  • Majority of research shows that daycare provides most children with enhanced opportunities for social contact & developing social skills.
  • Daycare may harm the development of peer relations in some children, particularly those with poor social competance and motor skills.
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How research into attachment and daycare has influ

NICHD (1997) found that insecurely attached children in daycare didn't develop well socially therefore children should be assessed before entering daycare.

Clarke-Stewart (1989) "maternal employment is a reality, The issue today isn't whether infants should be in daycare but how to make their experiences their & at home supportive of their development & of their parents peace of mind"

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Components of good quality Day Care

Verbal interation - Encouraging regular two way communication between carers and children is stimulating and helps cement relationships.

Stimulation - Good provisions of toys, books, interation etc.

Low staff turnover - Achieved by providing a good working enviornment, training and financial reward.

Low staff-child ratio - A staff to children ratio of about 1:3 is ideal, however it varies with age. Smaller groups are easier for younger children to deal with.

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Consistency of care - Having the same carers tending to children allows secure attachments to form

Sensitive emotional care - Carers need to be sensitive and responsive to childrens needs

Mixed-age groups - Groups comprising of young and old children allows the younger children opportunities to learn social behaviours through observation and imitation


Structured time - Activities should be structured as part of a routine creating a predictable calming enviornment, with some free play time avaliable too.

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Evaluation of daycare

A lot of research is done by correlations which only show relationships between variables, not cause and effect relationships. Other variables may be involved like working mothers stress contributing to aggression levels.

Differed methods of rating childrens behaviours are used for example using teacher ratings rather than parental ratings, this can lead to differences in findings suggesting that differences in research findings are due to methodological reasons.

High quality daycare like that provided in Sweden leads to positive developmental outcomes. However in many countries, only the wealthy can afford such care and the vast majority of children have lower quality day care with negative consequences.

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