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Research Snippets


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ChildForum.comA huge range of New Zealand and international resarch is published in the NZ Research in Early Childhood Education journal. Information about the journal and articles can be found by clicking here to go to the journal page

For those who are not used to reading research but would like to be introduced to it, below are snippets from some other articles to give you a small taste for how interesting research can be.  Enjoy!


30 Hours plus of Childcare Places Children at Risk of Stress-Related Behavioural Problems

An evaluation of a selection of published studies on childcare effects reports that “children who began care early in life and were in care 30 or more hours a week were at increased risk for stress-related behavioral problems”. Source: Arch Paediatric Adolescent Medicine. 2007;161(7), pp. 669-676. Child Care and the Well-being of Children  by Robert H. Bradley &  Deborah Lowe Vandell


Temporary Higher Childcare Subsidies Result in Long Term Labour Force Participation Particularly of Less Educated Mothers

A Canadian analysis of the effects of licensed providers of childcare services offering childcare spaces at the subsidised fee of $5/day/child for children aged 4 and in successive years younger children and the creation of more childcare spaces, shows that a temporary incentive to mothers to get back to work also produces substantial life-cycle labour supply effects. The results were driven mainly by changes in the labour supply of less educated mothers. Source:  Labour Economics, 2009; 16(5) pp. 490-502. Dynamic labour supply effects of childcare subsidies: Evidence from a Canadian natural experiment on low-fee universal child care by Pierre Lefebvre, Philip Merrigan & Matthieu Verstraete  


Children's Weight and Childcare Effects

American research suggests greater risk of unwanted weight gain amongst infants sent to early childhood education or in the care of relatives than those who remain under parental supervision. Infants in part-time childcare/ECE gained about 0.4 more pounds over nine months than infants cared for by their parents. And children who were cared for by relatives gained about 0.35 more pounds, were also introduced to solid food early, and were less likely to be breastfed.  The authors conclusion was:  "Our study results provide new evidence that child care influences both infant feeding practices and risk of overweight at least during infancy."  Source: Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(7), pp.627-633.  Association of Infant Child Care With Infant Feeding Practices and Weight Gain Among US Infants by Juhee Kim and Karen E. Peterson.


Child Obesity Risk Higher for Children Cared For in Some One Else’s Home

Childcare in the first 6 months of life, especially in someone else's home as compared to non-parent care at home or centre-based care, was associated with an increased weight-for-length WFL z score at 1 year and BMI z score at 3 years of age in this American study of 1138 children.  Source: PEDIATRICS. 2009; 124(2), pp. 555-562 . Early Child Care and Adiposity at Ages 1 and 3 Years by Sara E. Benjamin, Sheryl L. Rifas-Shiman and Elsie M. Taveras, et al.


Advised Minimum Standards for Infant Feeding Early Childhood Services

According to American researchers minimum standards are:  (1) infants are fed according to a feeding plan from a parent or physician; (2) breastfeeding is supported by the child care facility; (3) no solid food is given before 6 months of age; (4) infants are fed on demand; (5) infants are fed by a consistent caregiver; (6) infants are held while feeding; (7) infants cannot carry or sleep with a bottle; (8) caregivers cannot feed >1 infant at a time; (9) no cow's milk is given to children <12 months of age; (10) whole cow's milk is required for children 12 to 24 months of age; and (11) no solid food is fed in a bottle. Note that in New Zealand’s early childhood licensing regulations not all of these standards are specified as requirements. Source: PEDIATRICS 2009; 124(1) pp. e104-e111. State and Regional Variation in Regulations Related to Feeding Infants in Child Care by Sara E. Benjamin, Elsie M. Taveras, et al.


Use of Part-time Childcare Good for Children’s Weight and Reduced TV Viewing

In this Australian study, the children of mothers who worked part-time watched less television and were less likely to be overweight than children of mothers who were not employed or who worked full-time. The authors conclude that “the combination of direct and indirect relationships between mothers' work hours and the weight status of their young children provides additional support to calls for family-friendly work policies as an important means for promoting healthy family lifestyles and early childhood wellbeing”. Source: Social Science & Medicine 2010; 70(11), pp. 1816-1824. Do working mothers raise couch potato kids? Maternal employment and children's lifestyle behaviours and weight in early childhood by Judith E. Brown , Dorothy H. Broom, Jan M. Nicholson and Michael Bittman


Risk of Respiratory Infection Highest For Children in First Six Months of Childcare and For Children without Siblings

A Danish study found that the first 6 months of enrolment in a childcare facility for children under 12 months was associated with a 69% higher incidence of hospitalizations for acute respiratory infection compared with children not in childcare. Similar figures for children aged 1, 2, and 3 years were 47%, 41%, and 8%, respectively. The incidence decreased after the first 6 months, and after 1 year of childcare the incidence was comparable with that of children who stayed at home.  For children under 2 yrs with no additional young children living at home the excess incidence during the first 6 months of enrolment was 100% compared with 25% and 9% for children living with 1 and 2 or more additional children, respectively. Source PEDIATRICS 2006; 118(4), pp. pp. 1439-1446. Population-Based Study of the Impact of Childcare Attendance on Hospitalizations for Acute Respiratory Infections by Mads Kamper-Jørgensen, Jan Wohlfahrt, et al.


No Long Term Adverse Health Consequences for Children in Childcare

An evaluation of a selection of published studies on childcare effects reports that “Having contact with 6 or more children increased the likelihood of communicable illnesses and ear infections, although the illnesses had no long-term adverse consequences.” Source: Arch Paediatric Adolescent Medicine. 2007;161(7), pp. 669-676. Child Care and the Well-being of Children by Robert H. Bradley &  Deborah Lowe Vandell


Family Influence on Cortisol Levels:  Childcare Use Protects Children against Stress

Frequent childcare exposure protects children against the physiological effects of low maternal job role quality and emotional exhaustion. Children in highly expressive or reserved families exhibit higher cortisol levels compared to children in moderately expressive families. Children of mothers reporting low levels of job role quality or high levels of emotional exhaustion have elevated levels of cortisol. Findings underscore the pervasive role of the family within an external support system of childcare. Source: Developmental Psychobiology,  2005, 47. pp. 354-368. Childcare as a stabilizing influence on HPA axis functioning: A re-evaluation of maternal occupational patterns and familial relations by C.C. Chryssanthopoulou, J.M. Turner-Cobb et al.


Not Enough Sleep at Home is One Explanation for Toddler Stress in Childcare Settings

Children with more fragmented sleep at home have higher awakening cortisol levels compared to children with more efficient sleep. Their elevated awakening cortisol levels reflected childcare teachers’ ratings of internalizing behavior and negative emotionality. Source: Developmental Psychobiology  2010; 52  pp. 44-53. Sleep quality, cortisol levels, and behavioral regulation in toddlers by Anat Scher & Wendy A. Hall et al.


Comparing Home and Centre-based Childcare: Research on Children’s Salivary Cortisol Levels

Children in home-based childcare with caregivers who showed less sensitivity had higher total production of salivary cortisol during the day. This was not the case for children in centre-based care, suggesting that other factors may have mediated any effects of caregiver sensitivity.   Compared to being at home children had higher cortisol levels at home-homed and centre-based childcare. Source: Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 2010. In press. Children's wellbeing and cortisol levels in home-based and center-based childcare by Marleen G. Groeneveld, Harriet J. Vermeer et al


Disadvantaged Children Make as Much Progress as Advantaged Peers in Childcare

A review of recent key studies suggests that the vast majority of recent early education and care programmes have considerable positive short-term effects on children’s outcomes and somewhat smaller long-term effects on cognitive development. Children from socio-economically disadvantaged families made as much or slightly more progress than their more advantaged peers as a result of attending childcare. Source: Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 2010, 25(2), pp. 140-165.  How does early childhood care and education affect cognitive development? An international review of the effects of early interventions for children from different social backgrounds by Kaspar Burger


Peers Influence Children’s Skills Development

The ability level of the peers in a child's American publicly or privately funded early childhood programme classroom has direct and positive effects on the child's cognitive skills, pre-reading skills, and expressive language skills after controlling for preschool resources, family characteristics, and the child's skills at the beginning of preschool. Neither time spent on discipline, nor contextual effects of class composition, nor teachers’ motivation appear to be the mechanisms that explain the influence that peers have on children's skill development. Source: Economics of Education Review, 2007, 26(1) pp. 100-112 . Do peers influence children's skill development in preschool?  by Gary T. Henry


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