All-day nurseries can lead to behavioural problems, says Unicef

Evening Standard (UK) 11 Dec 2008

GORDON BROWN’S drive to push mothers back to work is leaving children at risk of long-term emotional damage, Unicef warned today. A detailed study of childcare policies found that leaving under-threes in all-day nurseries made them more likely to be aggressive, disobedient and lonely. The Unicef report, which draws on extensive scientific and psychological data, recommends that all children should, where possible, be cared for by parents at home during the first 12 months of life.

Children from the poorest homes face the double disadvantage of being born into deprivation and receiving sub-standard childcare, the UN agency said. The study reignited the debate over whether placing very young children in formal childcare for eight hours a day, or longer, can lead to behavioural problems. Advocates of nursery daycare often claim children benefit from better language development and turn into more confident, sociable adults. But today’s report states that stable, one-to-one care is the key to the well-being of the child and it suggests that British nurseries are substandard because staff are often “very young, unqualified and transient”.

UNICEF: Daycare is “A high-stakes gamble with today’s children and tomorrow’s world”
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