How does day care affect children's social development?

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  • Created by: niakm96
  • Created on: 09-05-14 15:52

What is daycare and what different types exist?

  • Nursery based care: parents are currently entitled to free nursery places for all children aged three years and above. Nurseries are staffed by trained workers, may be attached to primary school and often benefit from use of school facilities. Nurseries are inspected by ofsted and are required to plan their activities.
  • Family based care - 
  • Registered childminders: the child recieves care in the childminder's house rather than at their own home. The childminder often has young children of their own so the child is likely to have other to play with. CHildminders need to be registered and are inspected by Ofsted.
  • Nanny/ au pair: this type of childcare involves and emploee who looks after the child in the child's own home. The child is likely to be with their siblings rather than with children from other families.
  • Informal arrangements including childcare by relatives or neighbours: this is often unpaid and had received little systematic research.

The settings differ in the number of children looked after by each adult and the amount of attention each child recieves. Children are likely to recieve the most attention in family based care settings and the least attention at nursery school. Another difference is the number of other children available to play with; this is highest in nursery settings and lower in family based care.

The effects of day care on social development.

  • Children attending day care at nurseries or at a childminder generally have more contact with other children of a similar age than children who are cared for at home. This may provide them with increased opportunities to develp imporant social skills such as sharing and talking to others than children reared in a family setting.
  • Andersson (1989, 1992) carried out a variety of studies in Sweden, which found potentially good effects. In one study, Andersson found that children who attended day care were able to get along with other children better, were more sociable and outgoing, and had habetter abilities to play with their peers than children who did not attend day care.
  • Clarke-Stewart (1991) compared the progress of 150 children who had experienced different kinds of day care and found that those children whoattended nurseries had better social development than those who were looked after in a family setting.
  • However, other studies have presented contradictory findings and argued that day care may have negative effects on social development. DiLalla (1988) found a negative correlation between the amountof time children spend in care and their amount of pro-social behaviour. Children who spent more time in day care were less cooperative and helpful in their relationships with other children.
  • Campbell, Lamb and Hwang (2000) has suggestred that mot of these studies have examined the quantity of care but have not condisdered the quality of care that children recieve,which may be very important in relation to the overall effect on the child. It is possible thatstudies that report positive effects on social behaviour involve higher quality


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