Early Child Care Study Results
much better did the kids with
high-quality child care do? On a
test of academic and cognitive
achievement, Vandell says, "the
children who had high-quality child
care scored 5.3 points higher, on
that in perspective, the average
score, in general, on the test is
100. Her study participants,
overall, scored 106 on average. The
teens with high-quality child care
scored 5.3 above that, she says.
Those who had high-quality child
care tended to have fewer ''acting
out'' problems as teens, they found.
more hours the teens had spent in
early child care during their first
four and a half years, the more risk
taking and impulsivity they reported
as teens, the researchers found, but
that was partly compensated for by
the effects of quality care on fewer
Although the effects were small,
they're important, the researchers
say, and they don't fade away over
Effects of Early Child Care: Another
messages from the new study are
clear, says Ellen Galinsky,
president of the Families and Work
Institute in Washington, D.C., who
reviewed the findings for WebMD.
"Quality matters, and the way this
study measures quality is to look at
the relationship between the child
and the child care provider over
time. Is it warm, is it caring?"
if a teen's child care program was
not high quality, parents can
compensate, she says. "It's never
too late. Whatever positive [things]
their child is interested in, they
can build on and extend," she says.
"Motivation begets motivation."
Likewise, if a child is too
aggressive and in danger of
behavioral problems, experts know a
lot more now about how to help that
child than they did at the study
start in 1991, Galinsky says. One
technique, for instance, is teaching
a child ''perspective taking," where
a child is taught to ''read''
another child's state of mind to
guide his own behavior and avoid
conflict, Galinsky says.
Finding High-Quality Child Care
can parents decide if a child care
setting is high quality?
Vandell suggests getting referrals
to child care programs from friends,
then selecting two or three programs
that sound good.
''Talk to the people on the phone,
and then go observe," she says. Stay
for several hours or half a day if
possible. Donít focus only on the
caregiver, she says. Instead, pick a
child or two who matches your own in
age, behavior, personality, and
energy level, if possible. See how
each child and the caregivers
Check to see if your state has an
evaluation program for guidance,
attention to the environment when
you observe, says Galinsky. ''If the
kids all run over to you when you
walk in," she says, "they're bored."
all the art work is the same, the
teachers are entertaining the
children," she says. If the children
are encouraged to be creative in
their artwork, it's a good sign, she