Good parents still make the difference.
"One fear that parents have is that children in child care might lose out" on advantages derived from home, says Alison Clarke-Stewart of the University of California, Irvine.
Her latest results should reassure parents. Confirming previous work, she says that, overall, a good family influence "is not lost."
The influences on language and cognitive development is one issue addressed in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's study of 1- to 3-year-olds. Clarke-Stewart and her colleagues are analyzing how more than 1,300 families care for their children, ranging from alone with Mom to platoons of toddlers in centers.
Clarke-Stewart studied home backgrounds, videotaped mothers, and tested kids for language and cognitive development. She compared a group of youngsters who stayed with Mom all day to youngsters who went to day care full-time.
Overall, the power of a good home predominated. Regardless of care arrangements, higher scores correlated with the more affluent homes and the mothers whom researchers ranked as warm, sensitive, and more positively involved.
Clarke-Stewart did notice other cases where the quality of day care made a difference. For children from average homes, high-quality care seemed to boost development and lousy care stunted it. However, effects of good or poor day care seem modest compared with home influences, she reports.
As part of the same research initiative, Cathryn L. Booth of the University of Washington in Seattle and her colleagues rated care in nine states and extrapolated the results to the whole country. Booth says the study is unusual because it relied on direct observations of children and caregivers. About 53 percent of U.S. child care ranks as "fair," Booth estimates. About 8 percent of care ranks as "poor," 30 percent as "good," and 9 percent as "excellent."
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Title Annotation:||study proves the value of good home backgrounds for children|
|Article Type:||Brief Article|
|Date:||Feb 6, 1999|
|Previous Article:||What will ease the pain? Ask a frog.|
|Next Article:||A modest but universal map of the nearby cosmos proves its power.|