New findings coming out of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children reportedly show that childcare does not negatively affect the development of 2 and 3 year old children.
A significant difference between the groups was apparent on only one of nine measures - boys who had been in a combination of centre-based and home care as babies tended to have more conflicts with childcare teachers.
A second study, by Rebekah Levine Coley, a professor of developmental and educational psychology at Boston College, based on the Australian data, also found no detrimental effects from infant childcare.
Children performed better at school if they had been in childcare at ages two and four. But behaviour problems among the four-year-olds were worse than among four-year-old cared for at home.
A third study found four-year-olds who went to a pre-school or an educational early childhood programme had an initial significant cognitive advantage when they started school. But by age eight or nine, the academic skill advantage had disappeared.
''The biggest influence on children's academic achievement and behaviour remains family background rather than childcare,'' says Dr Harrison, lead researcher with the Longitudinal study and associate professor of early childhood at Charles Sturt University.
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