Daycare May Make Him A Better Student

As a parent, there are many good reasons for wanting to pick the best daycare for your baby or child. But here's yet another reason for choosing the finest: quality daycare can benefit your child's performance in high school.

Scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have just released the results of a study that suggests that 15 year olds who as babies and toddlers spend time in the top-echelon daycare centers do better than their peers on high school tests.

Very Large

This study was of a grand scale and took a long time to complete. The study included 1,364 children and several evaluations starting from when the children were only 2 months of age. The inception of the study took place in 1991 at a time when there was growing concern about the huge numbers of children ensconced in daycare for the long-term.

The NIH study showed that a child's later development will be affected by how much time he spends in daycare. The research team discovered that kids who spent the most time in daycare were more likely to take risks as they grew older and were more devil-may-care about such risks when compared to their peers.

In addition, the study results suggest that kids who spend a great deal of time in the best daycare facilities are less likely to rebel or indulge in reckless behavior during their teen years. Researchers said that there was a pattern of behavior that seemed to remain constant all through the children's lives.

Pretty Remarkable

James A. Griffin from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development said, "The fact that you have this persistent association is pretty remarkable."

Experts commented that the findings of this study prove a need for more government intervention to ensure quality control in daycare centers and to guarantee that children from every spectrum of society will be granted access to decent daycare.


Sharon Landesman Ramey who serves as the director of Health and Education at Georgetown University Center comments, "I think it is shocking that we don't have a much higher proportion of our children ... in excellent, quality child care."

As for the children in this study, around 90% had spent at least some time in the care of someone not their mother before they had turned 4 1/2. This figure is comparable to the national average.

Other Factors

In spite of its scale, the study does have limitations. For instance, there may be other factors at play that determine how well a child does in his test scores as a teen. The only way that the researchers believe they might finally prove the cause and effect of daycare as a future predictor of academic success would be to randomly assign kids to a various daycare providers.

Griffin says that the results of the study may even be interpreted to mean that the parents have more of an effect on a child's high school scores than does the merit of his early daycare. To sum it all up: decent daycare can help a child's school career but should not be given full credit for his successes.