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Benefits of Good Child Care Extend Into Teen Years
Date:5/14/2010

In long-term study, adolescents had higher academic achievement scores

FRIDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- Choosing good child care for your little one makes a difference not only in the preschool years but also when your child reaches adolescence, new research suggests.

At age 15, kids who had been in higher-quality care scored higher on tests of cognitive and academic achievement than peers in lower-quality care, the study found. The gain was comparable to what had been observed earlier among kindergarten-bound 4-1/2-year-olds in high-quality care.

"That small gain that we saw right before kindergarten is one that children appear to be carrying with them at about that same size -- a small boost, but a boost nonetheless," said study author Deborah Lowe Vandell, professor and chair of education at the University of California, Irvine.

That academic edge is seen across the socioeconomic spectrum, from the wealthiest kids to the most disadvantaged, suggesting that "there really is something there that is giving these kids a little bit of a boost in terms of school readiness," added James A. Griffin, deputy chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Rockville, Md.

The study is the first to document the long-term effects of non-relative child care in a diverse population, according to the Society for Research in Child Development, which publishes Child Development. The findings are reported in the journal's May/June issue.

For parents, the study should provide some level of comfort.

"If you can get higher-quality child care, it is a positive thing. If occasionally it isn't absolutely the best, that's not terrible," said W. Steven Barnett, co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.

However, Barnett suggests th
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