Daycare Quality is Associated with Infants' Development in Japan: Comparison of childcare qualities of small-sized and medium-sized nurseries

Author Name FUJISAWA Keiko (Keio University) / NAKAMURO Makiko (Keio University)
Creation Date/NO. January 2017 17-J-001
Research Project Measurement of the Qualities of Health and Education Services, and Analysis of their Determinants
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With the full implementation of the Comprehensive Support System for Children and Childcare, the number of small-sized nurseries is increasing and the effect of the small-sized daycare businesses is yet to be examined. This study quantitatively evaluated the childcare environment of a class of 1-year-old children in small-sized and medium-sized nurseries using the Infant and Toddler Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ITERS-R, Harms, Cryer, & Clifford, 2003), which is widely used internationally in childcare quality research. Thereafter, we examined the relationships between the developmental condition of children in classes of 1-year-olds and factors related to the daycare qualities including environment, daycare teachers' educational background and career, size of nursery (small or medium), and child-staff ratio. As a result, it was observed that the quality of nursery environment was better in small-sized nurseries than in medium-sized nurseries in general. In addition, the quality of nursery environment and the career duration of teachers in charge had a significant positive relationship with the developmental condition of the observed children. In contrast, the size of nurseries, the educational background of teachers in charge, and the child-staff ratio were not significantly related to the developmental condition of the observed children. The result of this study is consistent with those of previous research conducted overseas that showed that "good quality childcare is related to adaptive development of children." Future research is necessary to evaluate and verify the quality of childcare and its long-term impact using highly representative samples, such as performing long-term longitudinal research at the local government level.