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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Day Care Lauded in Joint Study

WASHINGTON -- Day care centers may boost a child's cognitive skills, particularly in language and math, according to a joint U.S.-Swedish study released last week.


Over the past few years researchers have conducted numerous studies, with conflicting results, attempting to gauge the effect various types of day care have on early childhood development.


This study of 146 children, done by the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and Sweden's Goeteborg University, followed the children even before they entered day care, so it could take into account pre-existing differences in various care settings.


They found that elementary school students who had been in day care centers in the Swedish city of Goeteborg did better intellectually than children who had been cared for in their own homes or in family care settings.


Language skills were assessed starting at age 2, and math was evaluated before the children entered school, which in Sweden is at age 7, and again in second grade.


The study also looked at various other factors and found that none were as influential as the day care setting.


Other factors that did influence cognitive ability were the extent of the father's involvement and the quality of the alternative child care.


The findings appear in the current issue of the journal Developmental Psychology.