Master Ratib Lekhal's avhandling for graden Ph.D.
Avhandlingens tittel er:
The relationship between children's attendance in Norwegian childcare centers and language and behavioral development during early childhood.
Attendance into childcare has been growing rapidly over the last few decades. Consequently the influence of non-parental childcare on children’s development has been contentiously debated: what types of care are best for children and at what age should they enter childcare?
To date, the debate of the impact of childcare on children’s development has relied heavily on studies from the United States. Very little European research exists on this topic, and research from Norway into these questions is almost non-existent. Since regulations governing the delivery of childcare vary considerably among countries, the effect of early childcare may vary across contexts. For this reason, socio-political context must be considered to understand the impact of childcare on children’s development.
The current study examined how children’s attendance at childcare in Norway at age 1, 1.5, and 3 years was related to behavior problems and language development at age 3 years in both high and low-risk groups. Data from 20,000 - 70,000 children from the large population-based, prospective Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa) were used, and included information about childcare arrangements, language development, behavior problems, and a variety of covariates.
The overall results of this dissertation are that children who attend center-based care or family day care early in life have a reduced chance of being late talkers but do not, on the other hand, show higher levels of behavior problems in early childhood. In view of the continuing debate surrounding the topic, this study supports the importance of a global perspective for understanding the impact of childcare. The results from this dissertation may provide useful information to decision makers and allay certain parental concerns about the behavioral impact of childcare decisions. This may contribute to a turning of attention toward the on-going debate on non-parental care, facilitating a discussion of the potential benefits and opportunities of early education for children rather than a continued focus on the potential harm.