Thursday, December 18, 2008

High Stakes Gamble carries a story about a UNICEF report about daycare, with some troubling data:

The report observes that "most children in the developed world are spending their earliest years in some form of care outside the home.” According to the organization, “80 per cent of children aged three to six are in some form of early childhood education and care outside the home,” and “about one in four under the age of three are also cared for outside the home — with the proportion rising to one in two in some countries.”

The report concludes that, "To the extent that this change is unplanned and unmonitored, it could also be described as a high-stakes gamble with today's children and tomorrow's world."


The most comprehensive study done in the US was released last year and found that the more time children spent in center-based care before kindergarten, the more likely their teachers were to report such problem behaviors as "gets in many fights," "disobedient at school," and "argues a lot." (See "Largest US Child Study Finds Early Child Care Linked to Aggression and Disobedience":

Other studies have found everything from increased frequency of illness to impaired social and emotional development in children attending preschool centers.

“The biggest eye-opener is that the suppression of social and emotional development, stemming from long hours in preschool, is felt most strongly by children from better-off families,” said UC Berkeley sociologist and co-author Bruce Fuller, who performed research on the question in California in 2005.

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