The Australian 24 April 2012
Children who go to before-school care early in their first year of school have been found to have higher levels of hyperactivity and behaviour such as hurting others, tantrums and fighting. A controversial study by Kay Margetts of Melbourne University’s Graduate School of Education suggests the increasing trend towards putting children in before-school care while parents commute to work has a damaging impact on their performance, both academic and social. “Based on this result, I think it’s important to limit the number of changes children have to experience when they start school,” Associate Professor Margetts told The Australian. “The child is out of home for long hours and this can make them very tired.” The study found the influence of attendance at before-school care in the early weeks of schooling increased over time, leading to a range of difficulties at the end of Year 5, including “lower levels of co-operation, self-control and academic competence and higher levels of hyperactivity and externalising behaviours”. …”However, these results were not mirrored for attendance at after-school-hours care,” she said.
Professor Margetts’s original study found that long hours of childcare — more than 30 hours a week — was linked to more dysfunctional behaviour. She then went back to the children she studied at the end of their stint at primary school and found that some of those who were in care the longest were still struggling six years later.