The purpose of this research was to examine the short and longer-term effects of childcare on children's development between birth and school entry. The research outcomes considered include: health and growth, social and emotional development, and cognitive and educational development.
The following types of care were studied:
- care at home by mother and/or father;
- care by grandparents, other relations, or friends;
- care by nannies in the child's own home;
- care by childminders in the childminder's home;
- group care in day nurseries or child care centres, both public and private;
- combinations of the above.
Exclusion criteria were:
- multiple births;
- infants with significant developmental delay;
- infants born to mothers under 16 years of age;
- infants who spent more than 2 days in a special care baby unit immediately after birth.
Information about the children was collected at 3, 10, 18, 30, 36 and 51 months, by researchers who visited the homes by prior arrangement. Face-to-face interviews were carried out with mothers and those who regularly cared for the infant for 12 or more hours per week. Various observations and assessments of the children were made in homes and various childcare and education settings at different ages. Questionnaires were also completed by mothers and fathers.