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Early Child Res Q. 2013 Dec 1;28(4):858-873.

Caregiver-Child Verbal Interactions in Child Care: A Buffer against Poor Language Outcomes when Maternal Language Input is Less.

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1
The University of North Carolina.

Abstract

Recent research has suggested that high quality child care can buffer young children against poorer cognitive and language outcomes when they are at risk for poorer language and readiness skills. Most of this research measured the quality of parenting and the quality of the child care with global observational measures or rating scales that did not specify the exact maternal or caregiver behaviors that might be causally implicated in the buffering of these children from poor outcomes. The current study examined the actual language by the mother to her child in the home and the verbal interactions between the caregiver and child in the child care setting that might be implicated in the buffering effect of high quality childcare. The sample included 433 rural children from the Family Life Project who were in child care at 36 months of age. Even after controlling for a variety of covariates, including maternal education, income, race, child previous skill, child care type, the overall quality of the home and quality of the child care environment; observed positive caregiver-child verbal interactions in the child care setting interacted with the maternal language complexity and diversity in predicting children's language development. Caregiver-child positive verbal interactions appeared to buffer children from poor language outcomes concurrently and two years later if children came from homes where observed maternal language complexity and diversity during a picture book task was less.

KEYWORDS:

Child care language interactions; Child care quality; Children’s language; Maternal language input; Rural

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