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How Does Day Care Impact Children's Cognitive Development?

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How Does Day Care Impact Children's Cognitive Development? Cognitive development is most often tested through IQ tests. It is widely agreed that stimulation and a secure base for exploration is vital for good cognitive development. If the staff at the day care centre do not provide stimulation and instead reward quiet behaviour, and passivity, then the child is likely to fall behind in cognitive development. (Bryant et al al 1980) Brooks-Gunn's study supported this also, and said that if the mother went to work before the child was one, then cognitive development could be hindered. ...read more.


Some believe that there is no difference at all in children's cognitive development whether or not they have experienced day care. Harvey agreed with this after her recent study of 6000 children in 1999. She also said that more important than the fact that the child goes into day care is the realisation that the day care must be of good quality in order that cognitive development is not negatively affected. Researchers such as Williams 1987 suggest that children do not suffer cognitively when their mothers work is because women who go to work may provide better quality care when they come home since they are more content with themselves. ...read more.


The one thing these studies have in common is that it is the quality of care that is vitally important. If the child has already formed an attachment with their mother figure, and they are well stimulated and experience minimal staff turnover, then the effects of day care on both cognitive and social development can be positive. According to Scarf (1998) this is certainly the case for children from low income families who may be stimulated more whilst in day care than at home. However, places with high staff turnover, who encourage passivity and offer little stimulation can result in slowing cognitive development. In conclusion as Schaffer (1998) suggests day care should be recognised as presenting opportunities for social advancement, provided that the care is consistent, and is matched with maternal sensitivity. ...read more.

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