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Outline and Evaluate Research Findings into the Effect of Day Care on Peer Relations

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'Outline and evaluate research findings into the effect of day care on Peer Relations' (12 Marks)

Some people believe that day care can improve peer relations. One study by Shea demonstrates this: she videotaped 3-4 year olds during playtime for the first 10 weeks of them being in day care. Her findings seem to suggest that the children became more sociable the longer they were at the day care. They also stood closer together and played more during playtime, and also moved away from the teacher when they were playing. All of this evaluated to the observation looking at measureable behaviour. However, this can lead to criticism as we don't know how the behaviour was measured. Different types of behaviour could have been classed as different things, therefore leading to the discretion of the observationist.

Although this causes controversy, Clarke-Stewart also believes that day care can improve peer relations and also supports Shea's study. Clarke-Stewart's study consisted of 150 children attending school for the first time from day care. They observed all the children, and generalised that the children that did day care, were much better in social situations and found it easier to talk and play to others. Clarke-Stewart concluded that the results that they found could be generalised, however it must be done with caution as it may not be the same for the whole country.

Another support for this was Andersson. Andersson studied the social and the cognitive progress of Swedish children. He found through his results that children that went to day care were more sociable and outgoing. He also found that they played better with others. However, the evaluation of this cannot be generalised in the UK because it is a Swedish study, therefore only generalising Sweden. It also doesn't take into consideration that Sweden has a great education system that is affected by the great quality of their day care. For these results to be valid in the UK, we would have to follow the Swedish government's rules on education and child welfare.

The EPPE Project also support that day care improves peer relations. In their study, they studies 3000 UK 3-7 year olds. They found that children that went to day care had increased independence and peer sociability. They also found through this finding that the earlier that they entered day care the more sociable the child was. As this was a large sample of children that were used, we can generalise the results for the rest of the country, but only in the UK. This is because the study was carried out here.

However, not everybody agrees that day care can improve peer relations. Dilalla carried out a correlation study into the time spent in day care and good behaviour. He found a negative correlation in his research with the more time the child had spent in the day care, the less helpful and playful with others children



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