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4 Quality of Child Care: Perspectives of Research and Professional Practice DEFINING QUALITY In the previous chapter we concluded that, in general, quality of care has an impact on children's development. Is it possible to be more specific, to identify the dimensions of quality that are most closely linked with the development of day care children? Researchers who have gone beyond summary measures (a center's quality is "high" or "low") to identify particular qualitative dimensions in child care settings have generally focused on one of two approaches to defining or measuring quality: children's daily experiences in care (e.g., Anderson et al., 1981; Carew, 1980) or specific structural features of the care environment, such as group size, ratio, caregiver training, available space, and equipment (e.g., Berk, 1985; Fosburg, 1981; Ruopp et al., 1979~. Of these two approaches, the one that most closely links day care participa- tion with developmental outcomes is that focusing on children's experiences (Belsky, 1984; Bredekamp, 1986~. Children's development is particularly closely associated with caregiver-child interactions. For example, the com- prehensive study of child care centers carried out on the island of Bermuda showed that one aspect of interaction, caregiver speech to children, was the strongest predictor of development (McCartney et al., 1982~. If children's daily experience in child care is key, what is the role of structural features? They appear to support and facilitate more optimal interactions (Belsky, 1984~. In the National Day Care Study (ND CS), for example, structural features of the environment were associated with caregiver and child behaviors observed in centers (Ruopp et al., 1979~. Observed behaviors in turn were predictive of gains children made in a year on measures of cognitive development. Although environmental 84
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QUALITY OF CHILD CARE 85 features cannot ensure that more optimal patterns of interaction will occur, they can increase the likelihood of responsive and stimulating interactions and thus of closer to optimal developmental outcomes. The distinction between structural and interactive dimensions of quality made in research is useful in differentiating between the two arenas in which efforts can be made to enhance the quality of child care: government regulations and professional standards. Regulations establish minimum standards that are enforceable by state licensing authorities. Most regulations aim at structural dimensions of quality. For example, in a survey of state regulations for child care centers carried out for the panel, we found that all states regulate staff/child ratios and the square footage per child of indoor space in child care centers. Many states further specie training required of center staff (directors, teachers, and assistants) and square footage available per child outdoors (see Appendix A). Although many state regulations consider such factors as the nature of disciplinary interactions permitted (i.e., corporal punishment), the focus of regulations is generally not on the interactive aspects of quality. In contrast, professional standards cover structural features and in- teractive aspects of child care quality.) Unlike regulations, professional standards specify goals for quality care. The accreditation criteria of the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), for example, go beyond structural features such as group size and ratio to include criteria for quality interactions among staff and children, as well as for staff-parent interaction. The NAEYC accreditation criteria include the following statements regarding staff-child interactions (National Association for the Education of Young Children 1984:8~: Staff interact frequently with children. Staff express respect for and affection toward children by smiling, holding, touching, and speaking to children at their eye level throughout the day.... Staff are available and responsive to children; encourage them to share experiences, ideas, and feelings, and listen to them with attention and respect. These criteria were developed on the basis of a review of research and of approximately 50 evaluation documents (i.e., program standards in lo- calities), as well as the judgments of 175 early childhood specialists. 1b 1 Appendix B summarizes four professional standards of quality: the accreditation criteria of the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs of the National Association for the Education of Young Children; the Early Childhood :Environment Rating Scale; the National Black Child Development Institute's safeguards; and the Child Welfare League of America's standards for day care service. It also presents the criteria for quality given in two sets of requirements for receipt of federal funds: the Federal Interagency Day Care Requirements and the Head Start performance standards.
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86 WHO CARES FOR AMERICA'S CHILDREN? date, 675 child care centers in 47 states have completed the process of self- study and external observation necessary for accreditation. Research with the observation component of the accreditation program has supported the reliability and validity of the assessment of interactions in early child- hood settings and underscored the importance of staff-child interactions in evaluations of program quality (Bredekamp, 1986~. Federal and state legislative efforts to ensure the quality of care that children receive in child care centers and family day care have primarily addressed regulatable aspects of care. Accordingly, we summarize below the evidence regarding the structural aspects of quality. The NAEYC accreditation program serves as a reminder, however, that it is possible to delineate well-grounded guidelines for high-quality interactions in early childhood programs and that child care professionals view such guidelines as attainable. Although focusing on the "regulatable aspects" of quality in the following discussion, we affirm Morgan's (1982) view that regulations and standards are important in improving the quality of child care services. RESEARCH FINDINGS ON STRUCTURAL ASPECTS OF QUALITY Conclusions regarding the structural aspects of quality rest on the com- plementary perspectives of research and professional practice. Research has examined empirically the question of which features of center and family day care settings are most closely associated with children's development, but there Is an Important gap In the existing research: with few exceptions, it has not addressed the question of acceptable versus unacceptable ranges on the key structural dimensions. At what point, for example, does group size become too large to support development? Research has determined whether a structural feature Is important; however, determining where "to draw the line" between what Is acceptable and what is unacceptable comes from standards developed for professional practice. The emst~ng body of research on the structural dimensions of quality identifies three important sets of vanables: major policy variables (identified in the National Day Care Study), i.e., group size, ratio, and caregiver qualifications;2 additional variables (which pertain to both family and center 21he NDCS (Ruopp et al., 1979) defined group size in a day care center as the total number of children present in or assigned to a class or to a principally responsible earegiver, ratio in center day care as the number of earegivers divided by group size; and caregiver qualifications in terms of total years of education, whether or not a earegiver had child-related training, and years of ex- perienee in day care. Child-related "raining was defined as presence or absence of special training received by earegivers in high school, junior college, vocational or technical school, college, or graduate school that was directly related to young children (in such fields as day care, early ehild- hood education, child development, child psychology, or elementary education). Child-related training almost always involved a combination of field work and classroom instruction.
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QUALITY OF CHILD CARE 87 day care), i.e., caregiver stability, structure or curriculum, and space and equipment; and factors specific to family day care, i.e., licensing and age mix of children. In this chapter, after evaluating the evidence for these three sets of variables, we identifier several other aspects of quality that have not received extensive research attention, notably, overall center size, parent involvement, and sensitivity to the cultural ethnic and racial backgrounds of children. We also consider professional standards on acceptable ranges on the key structural dimensions of quality. Group Size, Ratio, Qualifications: The Iron Triangle The NDCS (Ruopp et al., 1979) proposed that the debate on quality focus on three variables that it called the policy variables. These three variables, recently redubbed the "iron triangle" (Phillips, 1988) are group size, caregiver/child ratio, and caregiver qualifications. The NDCS (Ruopp et al., 1979; Slavers et al., 1979) concluded that of the three key policy variables, group size had the most consistent and pervasive effects on teacher and child behavior in child care centers and on children's gains on cognitive tests from fall to spring. In that study, ratio was clearly important for infants and toddlers, but had less effect on preschoolers. Of the three aspects of caregiver qualifications considered education, training in child development, and experience in child care-only specialized training in child development had consistent positive correlations with development for preschoolers. Much of the subsequent research on structural aspects of quality has continued to focus on these three key variables. That research affirms in part the conclusions of the NDCS. For group size, the findings are consistent concerning the benefits of smaller groups. For caregiver/child ratio, the findings are mixed: the findings on ratio for infants and toddlers are more consistent than the findings for preschoolers. For caregiver qualifications, research confirms the importance of both child-related training and overall education. Group Size Findings concerning group size clearly pertain to both family day care and center care. In family day care settings, larger groups are associated with less positive patterns of interaction (Fosburg, 1981; Howes, 1983; Howes and Rubenstein, 1985;3 Stith and Davis, 1984), and less advanced 3Howes and Rubenstein (1985) present their findings in terms of ratio, but in their study ratio and group size are the same for family day care.
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88 WHO CARES FOR AMERICA'S CHILDREN? development (Clarke-Stewart, 1987). In center care settings, larger groups have again been reported to be associated both with less positive interaction patterns (Howes, 1983; Howes and Rubenstein, 1985) and developmental outcomes (Holloway and Reichhart-Erickson, 1988; though see also Clarke- Stewart, 1987; Kontos and Fiene, 1987~. A decade ago, the NDCS (Ruopp et al., 1979) pointed out that despite findings concerning the importance of group size, this structural aspect of quality was not consistently regulated, but ratio, which was found to be a less important structural feature, was. The report urged wider inclusion of group size in child care regulations. Our survey of state regulations shows that 10 years later, while group size in family day care is regulated in all but 3 states, only 20 states and the District of Columbia regulate size for all the age groups we examined in child care centers. Five other states regulate group size only for infants. Group size continues to be a dimension of quality in which important research findings have not influenced policy. Ratio In family day care, ratio is usually synonymous with group size; there- fore the findings summarized here focus on center care. In the NDCS, ratio did not have widespread correlates for preschoolers, but it was important in predicting the daily experiences of infants and toddlers. Higher ratios (i.e., more children per adult caregiver) were found to be associated with more distress in infants as well as toddlers. For infants, it was also associated with more child apathy and with more situations involving potential danger to the child. In further research involving infants and toddlers, ratio does appear to be an important factor. Howes (1983), for example, found that in centers with lower ratios for toddlers, caregivers were better able to facilitate positive social interactions and to foster a more positive emotional climate. In another study involving toddlers, Howes and Rubenstein (1985) found that children in groups with more children per adult engaged in significantly less talk and play behavior. Most recently, lower ratios have been found to be associated with a higher incidence of secure attachment to caregivers by toddlers (Howes et al., 1988~. Like the findings of the NDCS, the subsequent research on ratios for preschool-age children is not consistent. Howes and Rubenstein (1985) found ratio to be important in predicting caregiver and child behaviors in center child care, and Holloway and Reichhart-Erickson (1988) found that children spent less time in solitary play in classes with better ratios. Yet, McCartney (1984) did not find better ratio to be a positive predictor of child language development, and Clarke-Stewart (1987) reports that
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QUALITY OF CHILD CARE 89 children from classes with more children per teacher were more cooperative with peers and adults in an observation setting. Thus, it appears that ratio is particularly important for infants and toddlers. Further research is needed to clarify the mixed findings for preschoolers. Would differentiating between equal ratios in groups of varying sizes make a difference? The NDCS, for example, suggested that in larger groups with several teachers, lead teachers tend to manage classroom activities and direct other teachers rather than interact directly with the children. The NDCS continues to stand alone in attempting to study ratio and group size as related variables. More work of this kind is needed. Ratio is nearly universally regulated by states (see Appendix A), with all but one state specifying ratios. However, there is substantial variation in what states view as acceptable ratios for children of different ages. For example, California and the District of Columbia require a 1:4 stafI/child ratio for infants up to 1 year of age, whereas Georgia accepts a ratio of 1:7 for infants. Similarly, for children of 3 years, North Dakota specifies a ratio of 1:7, whereas Arizona, North Carolina, and Texas permit more than twice this number, 1:15. The substantial range in ratios in regulations, particularly for infants, contradicts the research on optimal ratios for the youngest children. Qualifications The NDCS (Ruopp et al., 1979; Wavers et al., 1979) concluded that for preschoolers the key caregiver qualification variable was child-related training. It was associated with more caregiver social interaction with children, with more cooperation and task persistence among children, and with less time children spent uninvolved in activities. However, three issues qualify the basic conclusion that child-related training is central. First, the correlations among the different components of staff qualifications child- related training, years of education, and experience while moderate, were "high enough to warrant caution in interpreting individual effects" (Ruopp et al., 1979:37~. Second, the findings again differed by age of child: for example, for infants and toddlers, overall education, rather than child- related training, showed positive correlates. Third, the ranges of caregiver education and training may be important to the findings in any one study. For example, the NDCS involved caregivers with an average of 2 years of education beyond completion of high school, but other studies, reaching different conclusions (e.g., Berk, 1985; see below), involved caregivers with college educations. Findings from the National Day Care Home Study (NDCHS) (Fosburg, 1981) on family day care strongly support the NDCS findings concerning child-related training. Caregiver training had strong and positive effects
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9o WHO CARES FOR AMERICA'S CHILDREN? in all three types of family day care homes studied: sponsored, regulated, and unregulated. For example, in sponsored and regulated family day care homes, training was associated with more teaching, helping, and dramatic play and with less activity that did not involve interacting with children. Raining was found to be a predictor of caregiver behavior in further studies of this type of care by Howes (1983) and Rosenthal (1988~. Yet findings from other studies point to positive correlates of caregiver overall education. Berk (1985) found caregiver education to be the most important predictor of caregiver communicative behavior with children in child care centers, with the distinction being made between caregivers with high school only and those with at least 2 years of college. Education predicted caregiver behavior with infants in the NDCS (Ruopp et al., 1979) and some caregiver behaviors in family day care (Fosburg, 1981~. The evidence, then, points to positive correlates of both caregiver education and training specific to child development. We note, however, that the two studies of national scope (the NDCS focusing on center care and the NDCHS focusing on family day care) are in agreement in showing a stronger impact of training specific to child development. There is little indication that the third approach to measuring quali- fications, greater caregiver experience, is positively associated with either interactions or outcomes (Howes, 1983; Rosenthal, 1988~. Indeed, Ruopp and colleagues (1979) found less cognitive and social stimulation of in- fants and more apathy among infants and toddlers with more experienced caregivers, and Kontos and Fiene (1987) did not find caregiver experience considered alone to be a predictor of child outcomes. Into approaches in future research would greatly clarify the role of caregiver qualifications. First, no study to date has involved random assign- ment of caregivers to receive different training or education experiences. Such an approach would help eliminate the possibility that caregivers with more and less training or education already differ in ways that would have implications for the development of children in their care. Second, there is a need for greater specificity in defining both training and education. For example, is the key aspect of training the experience of supervised teaching, of coursework, or of something else? Although the research alarms the importance of caregiver qualifications, states do not consistently regulate this dimension of child care. Indeed, only 27 states and the District of Columbia require preservice training for teachers in child care centers, and only about one-quarter of the states require prese~vice training for family day care providers.
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QUALITY OF CHILD CARE Summary 91 From the existing research we conclude that group size is an important determinant of children's development in child care settings, and that the ratio of staff to children in centers is particularly important for infants and toddlers. Further study is needed on the relationship between ratio and group size. While both Caregiver training specific to child development and caregiver overall education are associated with outcomes among children in child care, the two existing national studies point to Caregiver training as the more important factor. Existing state regulations do not resect these research findings. A minority of states regulates group size for all ages in child care centers. Ratios, while consistently regulated, vary substantially, with some states permitting a single Caregiver to care for seven babies. And only a little more than one-half of the states require prese~vice training for center teachers. There are, then, serious gaps in the regulation even of these three so-called "regulatable" dimensions of child care quality. Stability, Structure, Facilities: Beyond the Iron Triangle Recent research has moved beyond the iron-triangle variables to iden- tify additional characteristics of child care environments that foster chil- dren's development. The evidence points, in particular, to the importance of Caregiver stability and continuity, structure of daily routine, and ade- quacy of physical facilities. Caregiver stability is not directly regulatable, but it is a structural feature of quality that could probably be affected by higher salaries for caregivers. Caregiver Stability and Continuity Chapter 3 summarized the research pointing to children's needs for enduring relationships with particular caregivers. In both family day care and center care, these needs are more adequately fulfilled if children do not experience frequent changes of caregivers caused by staff turnover or families changing their child care arrangements. In center care, these needs are further assured when children become involved with particular caregivers among the several caregivers to whom they are exposed. (In Chapter 5, we discuss in more detail findings pointing to the importance of enduring relationships among particular children in child care). The number of changes a child experiences in child care arrangements has Implications for both short- and long-term development. Multiple changes in child care arrangements have been found to be associated with
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92 WHO CARES FOR AMERICA'S CHILDREN? higher rates of insecure attachment to mother (see Chapter 3) both in a highly stressed, lower income sample (Vaughn et al., 1980) and in a middle- class sample (Suwalsky et al., 1986~. Howes and Stewart (1987) found that when children in family day care experience a greater number of different child care arrangements, they demonstrate lower levels of complexity in their play with adults and peers and with objects. Stable care was also found to be related to positive longer term development in a recent study by Howes (1988~: greater early stability of care predicted better school adjustment in first grade. Researchers have focused not only on the number of changes children experience in care arrangements, but also on the extent to which children in center care form relationships with individual caregivers. Several studies indicate that children's involvement with particular caregivers in center care is associated with greater security in their behavior. Cummings (1980) found infants and toddlers to be less distressed when transferred from mother to a more familiar, as opposed to a less familiar, caregiver upon arrival at a child care center. In a study by Anderson and colleagues (1981), toddlers in center care who were observed in a laboratory setting with a highly involved (in contrast to a less involved) caregiver more freely explored an unfamiliar room and more often made physical and visual or vocal contact with the caregiver-behaviors suggestive of secure attachment. Structure and Content of Daily Activities Researchers have explored two issues concerning daily activities in child care: structure and content. Child care can be viewed as a custodial setting in which physical care is ensured and children's major activity is free play. Alternatively, it can be viewed as a setting in which there are some structured daily activities intended to facilitate social and cognitive devel- opment. Does child care with some daily routine differ from unstructured custodial care in terms of the outcome for children? In addition, child care settings that follow a structure or curriculum differ greatly in the particular content of their programs. Is there any indication of differing outcomes associated with differing early childhood curricula? The contrast of custodial care and some degree of organized learning is well illustrated by the findings of the comprehensive study of child care centers in Bermuda (McCartney, 1984~. In that study, the daily amount of free play time in child care centers predicted less advanced language development for children, and the amount of group activity time positively predicted language development. If the director's goal was that the center should simply provide a good, safe place for children to stay, children's language was less developed than that of children in centers in which the director's stated goal was to prepare children for school. Similarly, in
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QUAD OF CHILD CARE 93 the NDCS, when teachers managed children's activities and when children engaged in more structured than open-ended activities, they showed greater gains on cognitive measures from fall to spring (Ruopp et al., 1979~. These studies do not indicate that free play and unstructured time are inherently negative. Rather, they suggest that a great deal of unstructured time in child care does not contribute to children's cognitive development; some emphasis on organized teaching activities appears to be beneficial to children. For content, research indicates that a range of quality preschool curric- ula can facilitate intellectual development, particularly among children in `'high-risk" groups. Thus, for example, in a longitudinal study, Royce and colleagues (1983:442) found that pa variety of curricula are equally effective in preparing children for school and that any of the tested curricula is better than no program at all." The Perry Preschool contrast of differing curricular approaches reached a similar conclusion regarding measures of intellectual development (Schweinhart et al., 1986:41~: "iD]iverse curriculum models can be equally effective in improving children's education." However, when social development is considered, findings indicate that differing curricula do have differing implications. In particular, the High/ Scope Preschool Study (Schweinhart et al., 1986), which randomly assigned children to preschools with different curricula, reported differences accord- ing to whether early curricula were structured around teacher-initiated or child-initiated learning activities. This long-term longitudinal study found that the group that had been in a teacher-directed preschool program demonstrated less adequate social adaptation than the groups of children assigned to preschool programs in which children initiated and paced their own learning activities in environments prepared by teachers. While em- phasizing the limitations of this study and the need for replication, the authors note that the finding points to the importance not only of the content a curriculum attempts to convey, but also of the process through which learning occurs. Children's active initiation and pacing of their learn- ing activities may have implications for their social development. Further research on learning processes points also to the need for curricula to allow for individual differences in learning styles and to the importance of learning through interactions (Greenfield and Lave, 1982~. Space and Facilities The adequacy of space as a qualitative dimension differs for family day care and center care. In family day care, the issue that emerges in the research is whether children are cared for in a space that remains primarily designed for adults or whether adaptations have been made such that the space could be called "child designed." In center care, where space is
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94 WHO CARES FOR AMERICA'S CH LD0N? uniformly child designed, the relevant issues instead are sufficiency and organization of space and equipment. Howes (1983) found that in family day care the degree to which space was child designed was associated with a number of caregiver behaviors: restrictiveness and responsiveness to children, establishment of a positive emotional climate, and ability to facilitate positive social relations. In considering the results of this study, it is important to note the possibility that caregiver behavior may not differ because of differences in space but rather that caregivers who already differ on psychological variables do or do not modify their homes according to children's needs. FIowes (1983) raises the important possibility that the need to restrict behavior and monitor safety in an adult-oriented space may have implications for caregiver behavior. However, further work is needed to clarify the causal direction. In center care, specific aspects of the physical environment appear to be linked to different aspects of children's behavior and development, although, again, issues of causal direction are unresolved. Holloway and Reichhart-Erickson (1988), for example, found that in more spacious child care centers, children spent more time in focused solitary play. In contrast, a child's social problem-solving skills were more influenced by whether the center had a variety of age-appropriate materials and was arranged to accommodate groups of varying sizes. Clarke-Stewart (1987) found that children demonstrated better cognitive and social skills in centers that were more orderly, that had more varied and stimulating materials, and in which space was organized into activity areas. Summary Children's development in child care environments is enhanced by the formation of relationships with particular caregivers and by the stability of such relationships over time. Development is supported in settings that caregivers define as learning rather than custodial environments, and where they provide some structured learning. Preliminary findings suggest that children benefit when the learning process involves child-initiated and -paced learning activities rather than teacher-directed learning. Finally, research raises the possibility that more adequate space and physical design in child care settings may be linked with positive caregiver and child behaviors. However, further research is needed to examine the causal direction of these findings. The dimensions of quality of stability, structure, and space are rarely the subject of state regulations. Caregiver stability is of course not regu- latable, although it is clearly important. As we discuss in Chapter 6, as a result of high staff turnover rates, a large proportion of children experience
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QUALITY OF CHILD CARE 97 Dimensions of Quality That Need Study There are several further structural features of child care settings that have received minimal research attention and yet may be important to the quality of care. In particular, little is known about the role of overall center size, parent involvement, and sensitivity to children's ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds, although some evidence suggests that these factors may be significant. Although group size within child care centers has been repeatedly studied, the work of Prescott (1970) indicates that overall center size may also be important. Prescott found that in centers with more than 60 children, teachers spent more time in managing behavior and emphasizing rules. In smaller centers, serving 30 to 60 children, teachers were more often rated as sensitive, and children were more often rated as highly interested and enthusiastically involved in activities. Prescott observes that large centers appear to lack a dimension of personalization as childrearing environments. Given the recent shift toward use of child care centers, it is particularly important that additional research attempt to replicate and extend these preliminary findings on center size. Examination of the professional standards (summarized in Appendix B) helps identify features of quality that are viewed by professionals as important components of child care quality but have not yet been the focus of research: parent involvement and recognition and active appreciation of children's cultures. For example, regarding parent involvement, the National Black Child Development Institute (1987:5) states that "the entire school atmosphere as well as organized activities should reflect respect for and welcome to parents at all times," and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (1984:16) sets as a goal that "parents and other family members are encouraged to be involved in the program." Parent involvement is a key feature of Head Start programs, but its implications for parents and children have not been carefully evaluated. Slaughter and colleagues (1988) note three distinct patterns of parent in- volvement through Head Start: participation in children's education, partic- ipation in program administration, and participation in skills development programs for parents. Existing research confirms that parents are satisfied with Head Start as a program both for themselves and for their children. Yet no studies have evaluated the differential impact of these three types of parental involvement. Just as Slaughter and colleagues (1988:5) conclude that "Head Start's parental involvement component should be systemat- ically evaluated," we highlight the need to assess the impact of parent involvement in other forms of child care. Professional standards also stress that curriculum materials should reflect respect for cultural diversity and affirm children's multiple cul- tures. The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS), for
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98 WHO CARES FOR AMERICA'S CHILDREN? example, gives "cultural awareness evidenced by liberal inclusion of mul- tiracial . . . materials" (Harms and Clifford, 1980:8) as a characteristic of high-quality care. Head Start has played a pioneering role in making multicultural sensitivity an integral part of its program (Slaughter et al., 1988~. Indeed, Head Start performance standards require a multicultural approach, and a great deal of work has been done in the context of Head Start to develop and implement multicultural curricula, most recently through the National Head Start Multicultural Fisk Force (1987~. How- ever, as with parent involvement, the research has been sparse. Slaughter and colleagues (1988:8) conclude that "to date the opportunity to use Head Start for the collection of information that would provide a data base on ethnic minority children has not been seized." The importance of examining the implications for children of a mul- ticultural approach in child care settings is also underscored by develop- mental research. Findings over a 40-year period have been consistent in indicating that young children in the United States show a Eurocentric bias for racial connotations, attitudes, and preferences, independent of socioeconomic status, race, and sex (Aboud, 1988; Alejandro-Wright, 1985; Clark and Clark, 1939, 1940; Comer, 1989; Goodman, 1964; Phinney and Rotheram, 1988~. Linkages between own-group cultural identity and aca- demic competence have been found for minority group children both in the United States (see Chapter 5) and in other countries (e.g., evidence regarding achievement in minority group children in Japan reviewed by Ogbu  and by Spencer et al. [19873~. Future research is needed on approaches in child care settings that affirm children's cultural identi- ties in relation to children's development. Research with older children (Cummins, 1986) suggests that this factor m~v he. n~rtio,'l~riv imnnrt~nt for children's cognitive development. ~; A_ red ^ ~ ^~^r~^V~ -cry I European research on child care also helps to identify dimensions of quality that have not been explored in research in the United States. One such dimension, that of caregiver autonomy in child care centers, emerged in the work of Tizard and colleagues (1972) regarding residential nurseries in England. Nursery groups in which child care staff had more autonomy (for example, to make decisions about activities, schedules, and menus for children) differed in terms of observed verbal behaviors from nursery groups with low autonomy (rigid daily schedule and decisions made by an administrator rather than by the staff of the individual group). In the high- autonomy groups, staff played and conversed more with children than did staff in low-autonomy groups. Similar findings were reported from a study of day nurseries (child care centers) (Garland and White, 1980~. Together, these findings raise the possibility that the organizational structure of child care centers may be a dimension of quality worthy of further study. In U.S.
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QUAIJIY OF CHILD CARE 99 child care centers, is there variation in degree of caregiver autonomy, and is this linked to other quality measures or to indices of development? In summary, empirical examinations of quality should be expanded to take account of these additional dimensions of quality that are reflected either in the professional standards or in academic research. PROFESSIONAL GUIDELINES ON STRUCTURAL ASPECTS OF QUALITY Although research is helpful in identifying which structural dimensions of quality are important, it is less helpful in clarifying the magnitude of the effects associated with graded improvements in quality (effect sizes) or appropriate limits on such structural dimensions as group size or ratio. In order to identify ranges and limits for specific quality dimensions for example, at what point does group size exceed acceptable limits, or how many 1-, 2-, or 3-year-olds should a single caregiver be responsible for it is necessary to turn to program evaluations and professional expertise. These sources provide the basis for four sets of standards for professional practice and two sets of requirements for receipt of federal funding identified by the panel (see Appendix B). For example, the accreditation criteria of the NAEYC were developed following reviews of approximately 50 program evaluation documents, as well as academic research, and by 186 early childhood specialists and the NAEYC membership (Bredekamp, 1986~. The four sets of standards and two sets of requirements for federal funding were developed for a variety of reasons. The accreditation criteria of the NAEYC were developed in 1984 to establish a procedure for center- based programs to engage in a voluntary process of self-evaluation regarding quality, which leads to certification when externally validated. The safe- guards of the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) (1987) suggest means of ensuring that programs for early education in public schools are positive learning environments for black children. The ECERS was developed by Harms and Clifford (1980) for research and to help center- based programs engage in a process of self-evaluation regarding quality. The standards developed by the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) (1984), first published in 1960 and revised in 1984, describe practices con- sidered most desirable for the care of children in center-based programs and in family day care homes. The Head Start performance standards (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1984) were promulgated in 1975 as a condition of the receipt of federal Head Start funding. Finally, the Federal Interagency Day Care Requirements (FID CR), which were de- veloped in 1968 (U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, and U.S. Department of Labor), revised
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100 WHO CARES FOR AMERICA'S CHILDREN? in 1980, and have since been suspended, reflected an effort to standard- ize the requirements for federally funded child care programs providing comprehensive services to children. As Appendix B indicates, these sets of standards and requirements provide guidelines for establishing acceptable limits on the structural di- mensions of quality. Although the guidelines detailed in the appendix do not always agree precisely, they can be combined to define an accept- able range for each dimension. For example, three professional organiza- tions provide guidelines for maximum ratios and group sizes, though only NAEYC does so for group sizes in the infant and toddler years. For ratios, there is clear agreement across standards that in the first 2 years of life, the staff/child ratio should not exceed 1:4. For older ages, the differences across standards can be used to identify a range within which quality care is possible: for 2-year-olds, the range of acceptable ratios is from 1:3 to 1:6; for 3-year-olds, from 1:5 to 1:10; and for children aged 4 to 5, from 1:7 to 1:10. For group size, professional standards identify the ranges at between 14 and 20 for 3-year-olds, between 16 and 20 for 4-year-olds, and between 16 and 20 for 5-year-olds. The NAEYC-proposed maximum group size in center programs for younger children is 8 for infants and 12 for toddlers. Four of the organizations provide guidelines for professional qualifi- cations of child care staff. For full teachers in centers, the standards agree on requiring training specific to early childhood education or development. CWLA, NAEYC, and NBCDI standards call for such training as a part of a bachelor's degree or other professional education, whereas the FIDCR specifies only training or demonstrated ability with children. The academic research and professional standards agree, however, that specific training in child development is important for teachers and caregivers of young children. Beyond the "iron-triangle" dimensions, the professional standards specify that child care programs should provide a daily organization that is both structured and flexible, that curricula should encompass social as well as cognitive components, and that there should be options for children to select and pace their own activities from among several possibilities provided by caregivers (see Appendix B). In addition, professional stan- dards specify the need for a physical environment that is designed for children, orderly, and differentiated. Professional standards also comple- ment the academic research by recommending parent involvement and the affirmation of cultural diversity. Furthermore, the professional standards complement the research by providing specific descriptions of how such dimensions of quality can be addressed in actual practice. Finally, we note that until quite recently standards of quality specific to family day care programs have been seriously lacking. The professional standards summarized in Appendix B. and the discussion above, pertain
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QUALITY OF CHILD CARE 101 almost entirely to center care. However, in June 1988, the National As- sociation for Family Day Care (NAFD C), Washington, D.C., launched a program of accreditation for family day care homes to address this need. Like the NAEYC accreditation program, the NAFDC program involves a process of self-evaluation as well as external validation. It encompasses the dimensions of indoor safety, health, nutrition, indoor and outdoor play environments, interactions, and professional responsibility. To date, there are 36 accredited family day care providers, and 250 providers who have requested applications (Sandra Gellert, NAFD C, personal communication, January 25, 1989~. A study guide, now in development, will soon make it possible to add to the professional standards for center day care the perspective from professional practice on dimensions of quality in family day care. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS We have noted the need to draw on both academic research and standards for professional practice in order to extract a picture of the components of high-quality care. These sources are most clear regarding the importance of six structural aspects of quality: group size, stafflchild ratio, caregiver training, stability of care, daily routine, and the organization of space. Research shows group size to be a particularly important factor in children's development in child care. Larger groups are associated with less positive interactions and child development. Professional standards provide ranges seen as acceptable for group sizes for children of different ages, with the following as maximums: to 1 year of age, between 6 and 8 per group; 1- to 2-year-olds, between 6 and 12 per group; 3-year-olds, between 14 and 20 per group; 4- and 5-year-olds, between 16 and 20 per group. The effect of staff/child ratios appears to be greatest for infants and toddlers. There is a need to examine in future research the differing implications of ratios in groups of different sizes: that is, 1 caregiver for every 4 children may have differing correlates in groups of 4, 8, 12, 16, and 24. Professional standards again provide ranges for acceptable ratios for different age groups: first 2 years, not higher than 1:4; 2-year-olds, 1:3 to 1:6; 3-year-olds, 1:5 to 1:10; 4- and 5-year-olds, 1.7 to 1:10.
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102 WHO CARES FOR AMERICA'S CHILDREN? Caregiver training specific to child development, and perhaps also overall years of caregiver education, emerge in the academic research as important to children's experiences and development in child care. There is consensus across professional standards that caregivers should have training specific to child development. Research indicates that children's development is enhanced by the formation of a relationship with a particular caregiver when several are available and by the stability of that relationship over time. Those profes- sional standards that address this issue identify the need for the assignment of specific caregivers to particular groups of children, and continuity over time in these assignments, in order to foster the development of affectionate relationships between individual caregivers and children. Research points to the importance of some daily learning activities in child care settings, complementing unstructured time, rather than an envi- ronment that is strictly custodial. Learning activities that permit children some choice, initiation of activities, and pacing of activities are also bene- ficial. Professional standards emphasize the need for a daily organization of activities that is both structured and flexible, that incorporates learning activities that foster both cognitive and social development, and that permit the child choice and self-pacing. Research suggests that children's experiences in child care are more positive when space is well organized, differentiated, orderly, and, in family day care, designed for children's use. Professional standards concur in identifying the need for a physical setting that is orderly and differentiated, as well as child oriented. Although we have examined these factors and their influences sepa- rately, the overall quality of child care In any one setting Is determined by a profile across the multiple quality dimensions. The simultaneous opera- tion of dimensions of quality is clearly portrayed in Grubb's (1987:59-60) description of the "covert curriculum" In high-qualibr center care: The physical space is carefully arranged to provide a variety of activities where children in one area will not interfere with those in another, and where areas for active play and those for quieter activities and privacy are segregated. Activities are carefully paced throughout the day, geared to the rhythms of children coming and going and to different levels of alertness. While most centers devote some time to relatively formal cognitive development, most of the "curriculum" is embedded in games, toys, and different activity centers, and most of it allows children to initiate activities rather than being told what to do on schedule. Teachers circulate constantly, interacting with children, engaging non- participating children in activities, and anticipating problems before they develop.... me best teachers are in fact warm and loving, but warmth alone is insufficient; an effective teacher . . . understands the developmental stages and thoughts of young children and responds to
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QUALITY OF CHILD CARE them intelligently as well as lovingly. A well-run child care class, bustling with actively, seems to be running itself, but in fact the influence of the teacher is pervasive though covert 103 Similarly, Grubb's portrayal of poor-quality care shows the joint func- tioning of inadequate sta~Ychild ratio, poor daily organization, and un- trained caregivers (Grubb, 1987:60~: Many children will spend large amounts of time unfocused, drifting among activities in ways that leave them both bored and frazzled. Without constant monitoring some children may become wild, especially if they are bored, and then kicking, throwing and pushing may become dangerous. Under these circumstances untrained teachers . . . may be pushed to the limits of their patience, and then correction becomes harsh and belittling.... If the center has cut corners on adult/child ratios not difficult to do, especially with lax enforcement of licensin~then chaos, the inattention of teachers, the management problems, and the resort to harsh direction and punishment become even more serious. In conclusion, the combined perspectives of academic research and professional practice together provide a picture of the key features of quality child care. To be sure, as we have noted, there are ways in which this picture needs tome extended. Yet the present state of knowledge is significant, with good agreement between researchers and professionals working with children about features of quality in child care. State regulations very often fall short of this picture of quality. In some instances these regulations do not appear to be informed by research or professional practice regarding quality. For example, only a minority of states regulates group size for all age groups and some states have regulations that violate what is known about optimal size~espite evidence that this is an important feature of quality. There are states in which a single caregiver can provide child care for seven infants. Only a minority of states makes any requirement for preservice training for family day care providers. State regulations do not address issues of daily structure or curriculum of child care. In a substantial number of states, there is no space requirement set for family day care homes, either regarding square footage or design of space. Even on a universally recognized aspect of quality such as staff/child ratio, states show major discrepancies in their regulations, with one permitting for 3-year-olds only 6 per caregiver and others as many as 15. Although the evidence points to the importance for children of enduring relationships with caregivers, the United States is experiencing a major problem with staff turnover in child care settings (see Chapter 6~. Our review points to the need for a reevaluation of state child care regulations in light of the available evidence. We also believe steps could be
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104 WHO CARES FOR AMERICA'S CHILDREN? taken to encourage voluntary programs (such as the NAEYC and NAFDC accreditation programs) to improve quality. REFERENCES Aboud, F. 1988 Children and Prejudice. New York: Basil Blackwell. Alejandro-Wright, M.N. 1985 The child's conception of racial classification: A socio-oognitive developmental model. Pp. 185-200 in M.B. Spencer, G.K Brookins, and W.R. Allen, eds., Beginnings. The Social and Affective Development of Black Children. Hillsdale, NJ.: Erlbaum. Anderson, C.W., R.J. Nagle, W.A Roberts, and J.W. Smith 1981 Attachment to substitute caregivers as a function of center quality and caregiver involvement. Child Development 52:53-61. Belsky, J. 1984 Leo waves of day care research: Developmental effects and conditions of quality. Pp. 1-34 in R.C Anslie, ea., The Child and the Day Care Setting. New York: Praeger. Berk, L. 1985 Relationships of educational attainment, child-oriented attitudes, job satisfaction, and career commitment to caregiver behavior toward children. Child Care £?uarterly 14:103-129. Bredekamp, S. 1986 The reliability and validity of the early childhood classroom observation scale for accrediting early childhood programs. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 1:103-ll8. Carew, J. 1980 Experience and the development of intelligence in young children at home and in day care. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 45(6-7~:Serial No. 187. Child Welfare League of America 1984 Standards for Day Care Service (rev. em.. New York: Child Welfare League of America. Clark, K.B., and M.K. Clark 1939 The development of consciousness of self and the emergence of racial identity in Negro preschool children. Formal of Social Psychology 10:591-599. 1940 Skin color as a factor in racial identification of Negro preschool children. Joumal of Social Psychology 11:159-169. Clarke-Stewart, K.A. 1987 Predicting child development from child care forms and features: The Chicago study. Pp. 2142 in D.A. Phillips, ea., Quality in Child Care: What Does Research Tell Us? Washington, D.C.: National Association for Education of Young Children. Comer, J. 1989 Racism and the education of young children. Teachers Coded Record 90:352-362. Cummings, E.M. 1980 Caregiver stability and day care. Developmental Psychology 16:31-37. Cummins, J. 1986 Empowering minority students: A framework for intervention. Harvard Educa- tional Review 56:18-36.
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106 WHO CARES FOR AMERICA'S CHILDREN? McCartney, K., S. Scarr, D. Phillips, S. Grajok, and J.C. Schwarz 1982 Environmental differences among day care centers and their effects on children's development. Pp. 126-151 in E. Zigler and E. Gordon, eds., Day Care: Scientific and Social Policy Issues. Boston: Auburn House. Morgan, G. 1982 Regulation of early childhood programs in the eighties. Pp. 375-398 in B. Spodek, ea., Handbook of Research in Early Childhood Education. New York: Free Press. National Association for the Education of Young Children 1984 Accreditation Criteria and Procedures of the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs. Washington, D.C.: National Association for the Education of Young Children. National Black Child Development Institute 1987 Safeguards: Guidelines for Establishing Child Development Programs for Four Year Olds in the Public Schools. Washington, D.C.: The National Black Child Development Institute, Inc. National Head Start Multicultural Task Force 1987 Report of Fiat Meeting. December 10-11, 1987. Administration of Children, Youth, and Families, Office of Human Development, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. Ogbu, J.U. 1986 Consequences of the American caste system. Pp. 19-56 in U. Neisser, ea., We School Achievement of Minority Children. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum. Phillips, D. 1988 Quality in Child Care: Definitions at the AL. Mailman Family Foundation, Inc. Paper presented at symposium on dimensions of quality in programs for children. White Plains, N.Y., June. Phinney, J.S., and M.J. Rotheram 1988 Children Ethnic Socialization. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage. Prescott, E. 1970 The Large Day Care Center as a Child-Reanng Environment. Unpublished paper, Pacific Oaks College. Rosenthal, M.K. 1988 Social Policy and Its Effects on the Daily Experiences of Infants and Toddlers in family day care in Israel. Draft 1988, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Royce, J.M., R.B. Darlington, and H.\U Murray 1983 Pooled analyses: Findings across studies. Pp. 411-460 in Consortium for Longitudinal Studies, As the Twig Is Bent . . . Lasting Effects of Preschool Programs. Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum. Ruopp, R., J. leavers, F. Glantz, and C. Coelen 1979 Children at the Center: Final Results of the National Day Care Study. Boston: Abt Associates. Schweinhart, L.J., D.P. Weikart, and M.B. Lamer 1986 Consequences of three preschool curriculum models through age 15. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 1:15-45. Slaughter, D.T., V. Washington, U.J. Oyemade, and R.W. Lindsey 1988 Head Start: A Backward and Forward Look. Social Policy Report, Vol. III, No. 2. Washington Liaison Office and Committee on Child Development and Social Policy. Washington, D.C: Society for Research in Child Development.
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QUALITY OF CHILD CARE 107 Spencer, M.B., S.R. Kim, and S. Marshall 1987 Double stratification and psychological risk: Adaptational processes and school achievement of black children. Journal of Nemo Education 56:77-87. Stith, S.M. and AJ. Davis 1984 Employed mothers and family day care: A comparative analysis of infant care. Child Development 55:1340-1348. Suwalsky, J.T.D., M. Zaslow, R. Klein, and B. Rabinovich 1986 Continuity of Substitute Care in Relation to Infant-Mother Attachment. Pa- per presented at the convention of the American Psychological Association, Washington, D.C., August. Tizard, B., O. Cooperman, A. Joseph, and J. Tizard 1972 Environmental effects on longitudinal development. A study of young children in long-stay residential nurseries. Child Development 43:337-358. Wavers, J., B.D. Goodson, J.D. Singer, and D.B. Connell 1979 Final Report of the National Day Care Study: Research Results of the National Day Care Study. Cambridge, Mass.: Abt Associates. U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, and U.S. Department of Labor 1968 Federal Interagency Day Care Requirements. DHEW Publication No. (OHDS) 78-31081. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 1984 Head Start Program Performance Standards. (Codified at 45 C.F.R. Part 1304.) Office of Human Development Services, Administration for Children, Youth and Families, Head Start Bureau. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Vaughn, B.E., F.L Gove, and B. Egeland 1980 The relationship between out-of-home care and the quality of infant-mother attachment in an economically disadvantaged population. Child Development 51:1203-1214.
Representative terms from entire chapter: