Studies of Daycare and Cognitive Development

These studies use data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY)—a longitudinal (on going) study of about 40,000 children conducted by Statistics Canada. Participants in this research know they are being studied and answer questions regularly. This is unlike the Human Early Learning Partnership’s method of taking all types of personal data on children and their parents and linking it without permission/informed consent. HELP people have been involved with the NLSCY. This research is not mentioned by HELP or by Charles Pascal in Ontario.

Quebec daycare system—Negative impact on children’s academics

2008. Pierre Lefebvre et. al. CIRPEE – research paper: “Childcare Policy and Cognitive Outcomes of Children: Results from a Large Scale Quasi-Experiment on Universal Childcare in Canada

ABSTRACT (summary)

Effects of a low-fee universal childcare policy, initiated in Québec, the second most populous province in Canada, on the cognitive development of preschool children are estimated with a sample of 4- and 5-year-olds (N=8,875; N=17,154). In 1997, licensed and regulated providers of childcare services began offering daycare spaces at the reduced fee of $5 per day per child for children aged 4. By 2000, the low-fee policy applied to all children aged 0 to 59 months (not in kindergarten). The study uses 6 cycles of biennial data drawn from Statistics Canada’s National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (1994-2004) and quasi-experimental estimation methods to provide evidence that the policy had substantial negative effects on preschool children’s Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test scores. The negative effects are found to be stronger for children with mothers who have lower levels of education.

Mothers’ employment has negative effects on children’s cognitive outcomes—recent article by Canadian economists

2004. Christopher J. Ruhm. Journal of Human Resources University of Wisconsin Press: “Parental Employment and Child Cognitive Development

See also a PDF download here for a version from 2000

ABSTRACT (summary)

Maternal employment during the first three years of the child’s life has a small deleterious effect on estimated verbal ability of three- and four year- olds and a larger negative impact on reading and mathematics achievement of five- and six-year-olds. This study provides a more pessimistic assessment than most prior research for two reasons. First, previous analyses often control crudely for differences in child and household characteristics. Second, the negative relationships are more pronounced for the reading and mathematics performance of ? ve- and six-year-old children than for the verbal scores of three- and four-year-olds.

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