Day care

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Define social development
. Social development is the process in which an individual acquires the knowledge, values, social skills & sensitivity to others that enables them to become part of society.
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NICHD study
The National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) in USA studied over 1000 children from diverse families and from 10 different locations.
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NICHD study 1
When the children was studied at 5, the data showed • That the more time a child spent in day care of any kind or quality, the more adults rated them as assertive, disobedient and aggressive.
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NICHD study 2
Of those children that experienced more than 30 hours of day-care a week 17% were rated as being aggressive to their peers. Of the children that experienced less than 10 hours a week only 6% were considered aggressive
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NICHD study 3
Children in full-time day care were close to 3x more likely to show behaviour problems than those cared for by their mothers. The behaviour problems included frequent arguing, temper tantrums, lying, hitting and unpredictable conduct.
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NICHD study 4
The latest reports looked at the same children at the end of their primary education and still found a link between day-care experience and increased aggressiveness.
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Evaluation (AO2) criticism 1
However, some argue that the effect of day-care on aggression are weak- if the findings are stated differently it found that 83% of children who spend up to 30 hours in day care did not show higher levels of aggression.
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Evaluation (AO2) criticism 2
Another problem is that there are so many variables that may influence a child’s aggression apart from day-care. The NICHD data actually showed that a mother's sensitivity to her child was a better indicator of reported problem behaviours.
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Evaluation (AO2) criticism 3
higher maternal education and family income also predicted lower levels of children's problem behaviours. These findings suggest children's development is more strongly affected by factors at home than those in day care.
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Evaluation (AO2) criticism 4
Another problem is that not all research agrees that day-care increases aggression. Some suggest that this is due to different ways of defining aggression. One benefit of day-care may be to give a child a greater sense of independence.
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Evaluation (AO2) criticism 5
Another problem is that the research lacks cross-cultural validity as conducted in USA and the findings may not generalise to other countries. A study in Sweden found no evidence for a link between aggression and day-care.
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Sweden study
A study in Sweden found no evidence for a link between aggression and day-care. However, in Sweden a substantial part of the infant’s first year is spent with one or both parents due to a special parental leave system for both mothers and fathers.
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Research study into the effect on peer relations (AO1)
Field found that the amount of time spent in full-time day care was positively correlated to the number of friends children had at school. Teens who had received full time high quality day-care were rated more popular and having higher self esteem
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Research study into the effect on peer relations (AO1) 2
The teens who had experienced the most day-care were rated the most highly. The study concluded that more experience with other children in high quality day care leads to the development of greater social skills
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Evaluation (AO2) criticism
A problem is that this is a correlational study and we can’t be sure of cause and effect i.e. we can’t say that day-care is the cause of more friends just that they are linked.
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Correlational research criticism backup
It might be, for example, that shy and unsociable children have mothers who are also shy and unsociable (because temperament is inherited) and such mothers may prefer to stay at home to care for their children
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Evaluation (AO2) criticism 1
A problem with research in this area is that there are many contradictory findings but perhaps this is not surprising as there are so many factors that influence a child’s development apart from day-care.
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Evaluation (AO2) criticism 1 examples
What the child’s family is like at home is much more likely to affect development. • Day-care itself is very different in quality • The time spent in day-care also needs to be considered.
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Evaluation (AO2) criticism 2
Another issue is that research into day-care often uses biased samples. Most studies of day-care are conducted in centres attended by children from relatively wealthy families that are able to provide excellent facilities and care.
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how to choose the right day-care centre
- low child:staff ratio - minimal staff turnover - training
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NICHD study

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The National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) in USA studied over 1000 children from diverse families and from 10 different locations.

Card 3

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NICHD study 1

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Card 4

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NICHD study 2

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Card 5

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NICHD study 3

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