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Longitudinal Study: LSAC
Title: Social Inequalities in Child Care Quality and Their Effects on Children’s Development at School Entry
Authors: Gialamas, A 
Sawyer, M G 
Mittinty, M N 
Zubrick, S R 
Lynch, J 
Publication Date: 20-Mar-2015
Keywords: child development
child care
social inequalities
Abstract: Family income experienced before age five is associated with children’s cognitive and socio-emotional abilities (Duncan, Morris, & Rodrigues, 2011), such that children from lower-income families are more likely to start school with poorer cognitive and socio-emotional skills than their more affluent peers (Heckman, 2006). Access to high-quality childcare may have an important role in promoting the development of young children and supporting children’s school readiness. Childcare exposes children to educational resources and may help them learn skills and behaviours they require in school. High-quality childcare may be especially important for lower-income children who are more likely to experience less cognitively stimulating home environments and caregiving than children from higher-income families (Votruba-Drzal, Coley, & Chase-Lansdale, 2004). However, the evidence is mixed as to whether higher-quality childcare is more beneficial for children from lower-income families (Burchinal, Peisner-Feinberg, Bryant, & Clifford, 2000; Dearing, McCartney, & Taylor, 2009). The purpose of this study is to examine whether higher-quality childcare is associated with better receptive vocabulary and fewer behavioural difficulties at school entry for children from lower than higher-income families. The sample from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children included children attending childcare at age 2-3 years (n=980-1187, depending on outcome). Childcare quality was measured using carers assessment of their perceived relationship with the child. Children’s receptive vocabulary was directly assessed in the child’s home, and behavioural difficulties were measured by questionnaire, at 4-5 years. We investigated multiplicative and additive income-related effect measure modification of the quality of carer-child relationship on receptive vocabulary and behavioural difficulties. Compared with children who experienced higher-quality relationships and higher-income, children experiencing higher-quality relationships and lower-income had negligible risk of poorer receptive vocabulary and no increased risk of teacher-reported behavioural difficulties. The effects of higher-quality childcare, in terms of relationships with carers, on children’s cognitive and behavioural development at school entry were greater among children from lower-income families. Higher-quality relationships in childcare may be especially important in closing developmental gaps for children from lower-income families.
Conference: 2015 Society for Research in Child Development Biennial Meeting
Conference location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Keywords: Children -- Early childhood; Child Development
Research collection: Conference Presentations
Appears in Collections:Conference Presentations

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