Psychology Daycare Unit 2

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Different Types of Daycare

  • Parental Care
  • Child minding - child minded at home or at house of child minder. Child minder must be registered with the council.
  • Nursery/Kindergarden - usually for ages 0-5 years, some may care for children before or after school
  • Nanny - trained and qualified person, can live with the family
  • Au Pair - usually a younger person often from a foreign country who lives with the family and recieves low pay. They usually have no training.
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Parental Care


  • The parent is always home - the attachment is given time to form and to become a strong bond between parent and child.
  • There is no danger of the child forming an attachment to a temporary person in their life
  • It is cheaper
  • It helps to form a secure attachment
  • The parent has control over the development of the child


  • It depends on the parent; not everyone is an ideal parent
  • Could be costly as the parent is not working
  • There is less opportunities for the child to socialise which could lead to the child feeling isolated
  • The parent's life is focused around the child
  • The child may only form one bond
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Child Minding


  • It is in a home situation which may make the child feel more comfortable
  • Parents are able to work
  • The child minder is consistent in the child's life - they can form a bond
  • More opportunities for socialisation for the child - the child may form multiple attachments
  • It gives the child opportunities to be independant of the parent


  • It may disrupt the attachment process between the parent and the child
  • When the child attends school they may suffer psychological damage from seperation from the child minder
  • The child may form more of an attachment to the child minder - child may become distressed when taken home
  • More expensive
  • Possibility of child minder abusing the child and causing psychological or physical damage
  • Don't know how much stimulus or attention the child is recieving
  • Lack of places
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Nursery/Kindergard


  • Routine
  • Socialisation for the child
  • Allows parents to work
  • Staff qualified to care for children
  • Gives child chances to be independant


  • May disrupt attachment process
  • Child may not be cared for properly - poor quality of care
  • Child may form attachments to staff which could cause psychological damage to child when seperated
  • May not get along with other children
  • Lack of places
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Studies of Child Minding

Mayall & Petrie (1977):

  • Investigates 39 registered childminders in inner city London by conducting interviews with mothers and minders. 
  • They concluded that many of the children suffered deprivation and were unstimulated in some of the environments. 
  • There was however no control group for this study and no account was taken of social factors.

Bryant (1980):

  • Researched childminding in Oxfordshire and also found that many of the children lacked attention and stimulation as the carers felt it was their role to look after the children physically.
  • Some of the children seemed very quiet and passive when at the child minders. 
  • Bryant did conclude that child minding can work well for some children if the quality of care is good and if the child minders were trained and resourced.
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Studies of nursery care


  • Found that children in better quality of care were more socially competent and happier at age 8 than those on poor care


  • Observed that children in good quality care securely attached to their carers and were able to mix well with other children.

Anderson (Sweden):

  • Conducted a longitudinal study of children in nurseries and found that children who had attended day care from a very young age performed better than those who began daycare at a later age
  • He did acknowledge that some of these children came from families with a higher social status and that may also have contributed to the development of high level skills.


  • Believed that the aged of starting daycare was crucial and that children could be harmed if they began daycare before the age of one. 
  • He felt it may damage the mother-child relationship and cause insecure attachments
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Factors affecting day care

  • Staff ratio - how many staff to children
  • Staff training - how qualified are the staff
  • Environment - open/cramped/unstimulating/stimulating
  • Earlier development - experiences the child already has
  • Quality of care - how well the children are looked after
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Cross cultural studies of daycare

Kessen (1975) study of China:

  • Kessen reported on child-rearing practices in the People's Republic of China.
  • China had adopted a very deliberate policy of socialising its young people in the direction that the society values.
  • Children in China are quite directly taught to value co-operation above individualism and that one should not wish to 'show off' one's own achievements but rather 'serve the people'.
  • Nurseries exist even for very young children and most work places have a nursery where mothers with young infants have regular breaks for feeding the children.
  • Although some children are looked after at home by grandparents, it seems that the majority of children attend nursery until the age of about three, and then a kindergarten, before going to school.
  • Kessen reported that any sort of act of aggression even like pushing a toy, was very rare indeed.
  • The message the child recieves from its parents, grandparents, teachers or educational writers, is of a single,consistent aim of mutual co-operation and support.
  • Children are encouraged to think of itself far more as a member of society than as an individual. The child is expected to put society's needs before its own.
  • Children's entertainment and art usualy bears some kind of revolutionary message. It is rare to find children drawing something with no 'virtue'
  • Kessen reports that the children showed astoundingly high levels of proficiency in such skills as representational art, dancing, memorisation and presenting short plays.
  • China is characterised by extremely high amounts of affection and interaction with the children by all adults, not just those who have immediate care of them.
  • Children grow up to keen to contribute to society and to promote its ideals and goals.
  • Young children are often sent to sport camps to train for things like the Olympics.

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Cross cultural studies of daycare

Gelfand (1979) study of Zimbabwe:

  • Gelfand studied the upbringing of children in the Shona Society
  • He found that the pattern of child-rearing which the Shona used represented a complete social and educational system for the child, but without having seperate institutions like schools.
  • Children are encouraged to develop their intellectual skills through riddles, games and puzzles
  • They learn about social roles in society through observing their elders, and through playing particular games which prepare them, such as the imitating-marriage game known as 'mahumbwe'.
  • As the child grows older, more and more is expected of it, and all the adults encourage the child in these games and activities, until it is considered to be 'grown up'
  • From birth, the child is constantly with its mother, who attends to its needs and looks after it until it is a toddler.
  • The infant will sleep next to the mother, in between her and her husband
  • After the child is weaned and is starting to explore, the child is traditionally sent to its grandparents' house to live for a few years
  • For some children, the stay with the grandparent lasts for the rest of their childhood, but others will return to their parents when they are 7-8 years old.
  • The grandparents teach the growing child social discipline, correct behaviour, and see to its development in other ways.
  • For a boy, the grandfather takes the main responsibility, while for a girl it is the grandmother who teaches her what she needs to know and be able to do in Shona society. (Gender stereotypes)
  • Gelfand found that this practice continued among the Shona people even when they had adapted to an urban way of life and the grandparents too were living in towns; the child would be sent to stay with its grandparents for a period, either to the town or to the country.
  • While the toddler adapts to its new independence but also needs to be trained in social skills and co-ordination, is undertaken by the more experienced members of the family.
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Cross cultural studies of daycare

Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg (1988):

  • Review of patterns of attachment
  • Reviewed 32 worldwide studies
  • 8 countries - over 2,000 children
  • Comparing studies - identify general trends
  • USA - 18 studies - slight bias
  • West Germany - 3 studies - Highest amount of Type A at 35%
  • Britain - 1 study
  • Netherlands - 4 studies
  • Sweden - 1 study
  • Israel - 2 studies
  • Japan - 2 studies
  • China - 2 studies
  • GB - 75% Type B - securely attached, only 3% type c
  • China - 50% Type B, 25% Type A, 25% Type C
  • Sweden - 74% Type B
  • GB - highest amount of Type B
  • In one of the Japanese studies there was no Type A children, Type C had the highest proportion
  • Considerable variation in USA
  • Overall worldwide pattern similar to Ainsworth et al Standard Pattern
  • Type A more common in Western European countries
  • Type C more common in Israel and Japan
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Scarr (1998) Criteria to assess quality

  • Health and safety requirements
  • Responsive and warm interaction between staff and children
  • Developmentally appropriate curriculam
  • Limited group size
  • Age-appropriate caregiver - child ratios
  • Adequate indoor and outdoor space
  • Adequate staff training
  • Low staff turnover
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Effects of daycare

Effects of poor quality of care:

  • Lower language and cognitive skills
  • Lower rating on social and emotional development

Effects on social development:

  • Maternal deprivation
  • Schaffer (1996) day care may benefit children provided it is stable and of reasonable quality
  • Belsky & Rovine (1988) day care can adversly affect attachments. Babies who were in day care at least 4 monhts before their first birthday and were there more than twenty hours a week were more likely to develop insecure attachments than home reared babies.
  • USA - 36% of babies with working mothers are classified as insecure (22% Type A, 14% Type C) Identical to overrall % for world studies based on 2,000 children of mainly non-working mothers
  • Clarke & Stewart (1989) children who were in day care as babies were as self-confident and emotionally well-adjusted as those who weren't
  • Scarr (1998) high quality day care - children show more socialised behaviour in later years than similar children without day care experiences
  • Clarke & Stewart (1991) 150 2-4 year olds who attended day care centres had better social and intelectual development than children who recieved homecare (either by mothers or childminders)
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