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Quality Day Care Predicts Later Parental Involvement in School

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Mothers whose kids went to high-quality day care were more involved in their children's schools later on than the moms of kids in poorer quality day care or no day care, new research finds.

In conducting the study, appearing Feb. 8 in Child Development, researchers examined information on more than 1,300 children ranging in age from 1 to 4.5 years old. The location and quality of child care was evaluated periodically over 3.5 years.

The study revealed that mothers who placed their children in high-quality child care since birth were more likely to be in close contact with their children's teachers and become more involved in their child's school-related activities later on, such as attending open houses or befriending the parents of their child's classmates.

The researchers pointed out that where the children were cared for was not as important as the quality of their care. High-quality daycare could include either child care centers, or home-based daycare.

"These findings tie into two important components," said study lead author Robert Crosnoe, a professor of sociology in the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, in a journal news release. "First, high-quality child care promotes school readiness, a phenomenon that motivates programs like Head Start and universal pre-kindergarten. And second, children make a smoother transition to school when families and schools are strongly connected, as reflected in the goals of No Child Left Behind."

Making connections between young children's home life, child care setting and school supports early academic progress, Crosnoe concluded.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides more information on child care.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Society for Research in Child Development, news release, Feb. 1, 2012

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