Analyzing Childcare Quality: Impacts on child development and parental mental health, and effectiveness of professional development

Author Name FUJISAWA Keiko K. (Keio University) / FUKAI Taiyo (Gakushuin University) / LE Quang Chien (Keio University) / NAKAMURO Makiko (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. May 2024 24-E-058
Research Project Implementing Evidence-Based Policy Making in Japan
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This study examined the impact of childcare quality on child development and parents and the effectiveness of the professional development program in improving childcare quality. In Study 1, the childcare quality of 15 classes of 5-year-old children in all 14 licensed childcare centers under the jurisdiction of one municipality in Tokyo was assessed using the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, 3rd edition (ECERS-3; Harms et al., 2015, Translated by Uzuhashi, 2016). Data were obtained on each child's developmental status and problem behaviors at five years of age, academic achievement and problem behaviors at the second grade, and parental status at five years of age, including parents' feelings toward their children, nurturing behaviors, and mental health. The results of the analysis showed that the quality of childcare in the 5-year-old class positively affected parents' positive feelings toward their children, parents' good mental health, and academic achievement after school entry. In Study 2, 20 classes of 5-year-old children at licensed childcare centers and kindergartens in the same municipality were randomly assigned to the intervention group and the control group in a different year from Study 1, and a short program of professional development was conducted with the center directors and the caregivers in charge of the intervention group in the form of providing detailed feedback on the results of the ECERS-3. The results showed that scores on the ECERS-3 increased in the intervention group compared to the control group. More than half of the targeted indicators showed improvement.