Article from chapter 3. Mental development

Kindergarten education is a matter of debate in the United States as many are unsure of the impact nurseries and kindergartens have on young children; many Americans also believe that children should be raised at home by their mothers. However, in a society where the vast majority of mothers work, kindergarten is part of community life; in fact, a larger number of 3-4-year-old children (43%) attend kindergarten than are brought up either in their own home or in other homes (35%).

Many researchers have tried to determine the impact (if any) of kindergarten education on children. One well-known study (Belsky & Rovine, 1988) found that infants who were cared for more than 20 hours a week by someone other than their mother were more likely to develop insufficient attachment to their mothers; however, these data refer only to infant boys whose mothers are not sensitive to their children, believing that they have a difficult temperament. Similarly, Clarke-Stewart (1989) found that infants raised by people other than their mother were less likely to develop strong attachments to their mothers than infants cared for by their mothers (47% and 53 % respectively). Other researchers have concluded that child development is not adversely affected by quality care provided by others (Phillips et al., 1987).

In recent years, research on kindergarten education has focused not so much on comparing the impact of kindergarten versus maternal care, but on the impact of good and bad quality out-of-home education. Thus, children who were provided with quality care from an early age were found to be more socially competent in primary school (Anderson, 1992; Field, 1991; Howes, 1990) and more self-confident (Scan & Eisenberg, 1993) than children who started attending kindergarten at a later age. On the other hand, poor-quality upbringing can have a negative impact on adaptation, especially in boys, especially those living in a very unfavorable home environment (Garrett, 1997). Good quality out-of-home education can counteract such negative influences (Phillips et al., 1994).

What is quality out-of-home education? Several factors have been identified. They include the number of children brought up in a single space, the ratio of the number of caregivers to the number of children, the rarer change in the composition of caregivers, as well as the level of education and training of caregivers.

If these factors are favorable, caregivers tend to be more caring and more responsive to children’s needs; they are also more sociable with children, and as a result, children score higher on tests of intellectual and social development (Galinsky et al., 1994; Helburn, 1995; Phillips & Whitebrook, 1992). Other studies show that well-equipped and varied kindergartens have a positive effect on children (Scarr et al., 1993).

A recent large-scale study of more than 1000 children in ten kindergartens found that children in better kindergartens (measured by the skill level of teachers and the amount of individual attention given to children) actually achieved greater success in language acquisition and development of thinking abilities. than children from a similar environment who do not receive high-quality out-of-home education. This is especially true for children from low-income families (Garrett, 1997).

In general, it can be said that children are not significantly affected by the upbringing of persons other than the mother. Any negative effects tend to be emotional in nature, while positive effects are more often social; the impact on cognitive development is usually positive or absent. However, these data refer only to sufficiently high-quality out-of-home education. Poor parenting usually has a negative impact on children, regardless of their home environment.

Well-equipped kindergartens with enough caregivers for children have been found to have a positive impact on child development.


Adolescence is the transitional period from childhood to adulthood. Its age limits are not strictly defined, but approximately it lasts from 12 to 17-19 years, when physical growth practically ends. During this period, a young man or girl reaches puberty and begins to recognize himself as a person separate from the family. See →

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