Social development Observation on a children : Social Development

Social development Observation on a children

What factors of child care matter to children's development?

Child care experts have described in clear detail the structural, procedural, and interactive factors that are important for early child care (e.g., Friendly & Beach, 2005). Knowledge about child care quality often comes from child development theory, from observation, and from the experience of caring for children. CCKM’s Research Guide adds to this descriptive and experiential knowledge the results of studies that directly measured the relationship of child care quality to outcomes of children’s development.

The relationship of overall quality of child care to children’s cognitive, language, and behavioural development was examined in 45 (68%) of the 66 research reports. All 45 articles measured quality of child care in the home or centre as a composite of many different features of care, but the researchers did not all use the same measuring tool.

Most studies of child care centre quality (60%) used the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS), first published in 1980 by Dr. Thelma Harms and her colleagues, or its version for infants and toddlers (ITERS). The ECERS assesses a range of child care features, including space and furnishings, personal care routines, language-reasoning, activities, interaction, program structure, and parents and staff.

During work time hours, parents more frequently place their children in the homes of others than in child care centres. The Family Day Care Rating Scale is designed to measure the quality of care in family home settings and as a counterpart to the ECERS centre assessment protocol. The two tests are similar in structure, but the FDCRS does not contain items that would apply only to centre facilities. To obtain high scores on the FDCRS, home day care setting must reflect standards for cognitive, language and social learning opportunities that are professional and beyond custodial care.

The Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME), first developed by Dr. Betty Caldwell in 1970, was used to measure both parental and non-parental home care. It assesses the degree to which the home provides emotional support and cognitive stimulation.

The Observational Record of the Caregiving Environment (ORCE), published in 1996 by the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, was used in almost 18% of the articles. The ORCE focuses on only the caregiver’s frequency and quality of behaviours toward children. Because the ORCE evaluates the caregiver and not the physical and material features of the environment, it can be used in any setting, the child’s own home, the home of another caregiver, or a centre. The Belsky and Walker Spot Observation Checklist (1980) is similar to the ORCE in its focus on the socio-emotional relationships between child and caregiver.

Most Frequently Used Tools for Measuring Child Care Quality Tool ECERS ITERS FDCRS HOME ORCE Belsky/Walker Other # of Reports 27 3 9 8 4 6

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