Early Years

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Child Care: The number of hours that a child under the age of 36 months spends in child care could be detrimental to the mother-child bond, according to a recent study published in the American Psychological Association's journal, Developmental Psychology.

The findings are based on data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care, a long-range study of 1,300 children enrolled at birth.

Researchers studied associations between the amount, quality, and stability of child care and mother-child interaction when the children were 6, 15, 24, and 36 months old.

Better care increases the competency of the child and thus strengthens the mother-child bond, the study suggests, and poor-quality child care has a detrimental effect on that bond. Multiple, concurrent care situations can also have an adverse effect on the mother-child bond, according to the report.

School Readiness: Children who participated in the Parents as Teachers program were better prepared to enter kindergarten than those who did not, according to a study conducted by the Missouri Department of Education.

Parents as Teachers is a widespread home-visiting program for young children, run by school districts.

Randomly selected kindergarten teachers evaluated the knowledge, skills, and behavior of 3,500 new kindergarten pupils. Surveys from more than 3,100 parents also were evaluated.

The "School Entry Assessment Project" found that children who came from exclusively home-based environments were more prepared for school if their families participated in Parents as Teachers.

The highest-scoring children in the study participated in both the Parents as Teachers program and in a preschool or center-based program.

Special needs children who participated in the program and attended preschool, in addition to an early childhood special education program, were rated by teachers as being similar in preparation to the average child.

The study, conducted by the Overland Park, Kan.-based Research and Training Associates, also found a correlation between school readiness and home literacy activities.

The children who scored "above average" on the survey came from families that read to their children regularly.

More details of the study are available online at'sarticle.htm.

Michelle Gallery[email protected]

Vol. 19, Issue 16, Page 13

Published in Print: December 15, 1999, as Early Years

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