Research misrepresented to ‘sell’ childcare

According to 3 News on the 10 June

Preschool has surprisingly enduring benefits lasting well into adulthood, according to one of the biggest, longest follow-up studies of its kind. Better jobs, less drug abuse and fewer arrests are among advantages found in the study that tracked more than 1,000 low-income, mostly black Chicago kids for up to 25 years. Michael Washington was one of them. Now a 31-year-old heating and air conditioning contractor, Washington attended a year of preschool at Chicago’s intensive Child-Parent Centre Education Program when he was four. The ongoing publicly-funded program focuses on language development, scholastic skills and building self-confidence. It involves one or two years of half-day preschool, and up to four additional years of educational and family services in grade school. Preschool teachers have college degrees and are certified in early childhood education, and parents are encouraged to be involved in the classes.

The article misrepresents some key points. This study does not promote the benefits of long term day care stating from a very young age e.g. one year old. Note the highlighted parts above. This was pre-school that started at the age of 4, was for half days, and specifically benefitted 500 low-income Chicago kids. We already know that pre-schol is beneficial at this age, and especially for at-risk kids.

But to argue that it backs up similar recommendations from a report by Sir Peter Gluckman recommending that children need childcare from the age of one is just rubbish.

As the summary says

The authors theorize that those intensive early childhood experiences built intellectual skills, social adjustment and motivation that helped children better navigate their high-risk environments.

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