The Australian 28 April 2014
Children who spend more than 21 hours a week in long daycare are at greater risk of performing below average in maths, literacy and overall academic achievement, a new study finds.
The Australian National University work, based on four waves of longitudinal data over six years, found “significant” negative academic outcomes for preschoolers who attend on average more than four hours a day at childcare centres.
Once they crossed the 21-hour-a-week threshold, children were found to have more trouble adjusting to school later on and had poorer marks on a key development questionnaire rating strengths and difficulties.
The controversial study will likely reignite debate about the impact of long daycare. The analysis was based on about 3500 children aged four to five in 2007-08 who were not attending full-time school. About 37 per cent attended some form of long daycare, with about 14 per cent attending for more than 20 hours.