Happy Home or Away

CHILDCARE kids are as emotionally and socially healthy as children who are kept at home.

Working parents can heave a sigh of relief as research found five-year-olds who went to childcare in their first three years turned out to be happy, stable kids.

The five-year European study from the Economic and Social Research Institute tracked 11,000 children.

After weighing up the combined feedback of parents and teachers, the authors of Childcare, Early Education and Socio-Emotional Outcomes at Age Five concluded that there was “little difference” between children cared for by parents or professionals.

The experts found that the mental health of parents, the number of parents, children’s health and gender had more impact on a child’s development and that high-quality child care could even cancel out negative family factors.

Queensland’s Lucy Cook has a Masters degree in Education and 20 years’ experience. She runs six early education centres and believes children in childcare can flourish if the service is of the highest quality.

“It can’t be any care, it has to be high-quality and the right blend of nurturing, love and learning,” she said.

“Child care gives parents a support group of teachers and other parents that they may not be able to access due to both parents working and they reap social, psychological and financial rewards.”

The research assessed children on sharing and kindness, conduct and emotional difficulties, hyper-­activity and peer problems.

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