This morning I turned on my computer to be faced with a study that, according to the blaring headline, screamed that children who spend time in daycare are more likely to be disobedient and involved in fights by the sixth grade. I have a moderate distrust of certain media sources, basically because I feel they tend to make the worse of news in order to grab a reader’s attention, so I went to the source of the study to read more: The National Institute of Health.
In a long term study, NIH followed over 1,000 children from birth to 54 month to determine what role childcare played in cognitive functioning and academic achievement. These children spent at least 10 hours or more a week being cared for by someone other than their parents. This did include care by other family members as well as childcare facilities.
Children who spend time in quality daycare or preschool before entering kindergarten are shown to have higher vocabulary scores by the time that they reach fifth grade than are children who received a lower quality of care. They are also more likely to get into fights or be disobedient as sixth graders. BUT the researches found that these increases in vocabulary and problem behaviors are small and that quality of parenting plays a much larger role in the development of the child than does the quality, quantity or type of childcare.
You can read more HERE and the study will appear in the March/April issue of Child Development.