New research which looked at the effects of childcare on a child’s social and emotional development by the age of five has refreshing results.
The Growing Up In Ireland Economic and Social Research Institute (ERSI) study examined 9,000 children from a range of backgrounds.
The parents were interviewed when their child was nine months, 36 months and five-years-old, and the teachers of the five-year-olds were also interviewed.
According to the study, the type of care a child received at three only had a small effect on their emotional development.
Children cared for by relatives or childminders were found to have “somewhat fewer” emotional difficulties and better social skills than those looked after their parents; toddlers in crèche were also found to have fewer difficulties, in particular peer problems than those in full-time parental care.
The results of the Growing Up in Ireland research found that gender, financial difficulty and living in a disadvantaged area were found to have a greater impact on a child’s development.
Commenting on the findings, ESRI Associate Research Professor, Helen Russell told Newstalk: “We find some evidence that access to centre-based care provides more beneficial effects for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, but the effects are small and not enough to level the playing field."
"The quality of care is likely to be crucial.”