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Child Dev. 2006 Jul-Aug;77(4):861-74.

Effects of child-caregiver ratio on the interactions between caregivers and children in child-care centers: an experimental study.

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Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


To investigate the effects of child-caregiver ratio on the quality of caregiver-child interaction in child-care centers, 217 caregivers (ages 18-56 years) from 64 child care centers were observed during two structured play episodes: one with a group of three children and one with a group of 5 children. As predicted, a child-caregiver ratio of 3:1 produced a significantly higher quality of caregiver-child interaction than a ratio of 5:1 and particularly for younger children. Significant and meaningful effects were found for both the interactive behaviors of the caregivers and the children's well-being and cooperation. Significant correlations with caregiver-child interaction during lunchtime and throughout the remainder of the morning confirmed the ecological validity of the caregiver-child interactions observed during structured play episodes.

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