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Early use of non-parental childcare is not harmful for most children
Date:9/27/2011

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The report provides an overview of the current status and is based on data from the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. The first part of the report presents information about childcare arrangements based on questionnaire data from more than 60 000 children in MoBa aged 18 months, in the period between 2001 and the end of 2009. Then impact of childcare (up to 18 months of age) was studied in the context of language skills, language-related difficulties and psychological function in 13 000 children who had reached five years by the end of 2010.

What works for whom?

Overall, the report shows that neither the language skills nor the psychological function of most children varies with the type of childcare, their age when starting in childcare outside the home, whether they used a combination of childcare arrangements or just one type, or how many hours per week they were in childcare.

"For most children there is no evidence from our findings to suggest that it is harmful to begin in centre-based childcare at 12 months," said Synnve Schjlberg, researcher and specialist in clinical psychology. "The small effect sizes of the findings indicate that the differences between children attending childcare at an early age and those starting later have no clinical implications for most children" she explains.

"Neither do the findings suggest that most children who are cared for at home up to 18 months of age are better prepared than children cared for by others in the same period," said Schjlberg.

"It is possible that the small differences found could be attributed to some children's particular vulnerability. Low quality childcare could be hypothesised as another explanation," said Schjlberg. "We will investigate these relationships further. The debate around centre-based childcare needs to be more nuanced and now rather focus on what works for whom" she ad
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Contact: Julie Johansen
julie.johansen@fhi.no
Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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