In November, the latest report from The Growing Up in Ireland study from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) was launched. The study, Childcare, Early Education and Socio-Emotional Outcomes at Age 5, investigates the effects of childcare in early life on children’s socio-emotional development at age five using a large representative sample of children (circa 9,000) from the Growing Up in Ireland study. Parents were interviewed when children were nine months, 36 months and five years old; the teachers of the five-year-olds were also interviewed.
The study found that while care of more than 30 hours per week was associated with a small negative affect, high quality early years care and education was found to offset the potential negative impacts of social disadvantage and family factors. However, a range of other factors are of far greater importance for five-year-olds’ emotional and social wellbeing than whether they were cared for in a creche or at home. These include social class, mental health of parents, number of parents, children’s own health and their gender.
Other findings include: