Date of this Version
Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Vol. 1, pp. 317-332.
The effects of day care participation on parent-child interaction at home were assessed using a university-based, half-day, high-quality infant-toddler program. Hypotheses concerned whether "child-centered" features of the physical and social environment were carried over by parents to the home. Nineteen matched pairs of center and noncenter children (ages 2-24 months at start) were followed for 8 months. All had employed or student mothers. Methods included brief parent-reported "spot" observations, a videotaped observation of a bathing or feeding routine, and home environment assessments. Parents showed few group differences during the first half of the study period. At study end, however, center homes were more child-centered with respect to play, safety, and dinner arrangements. Center parents scored higher in proximity and warmth and lower in "teacher-avoided" behaviors. Noncenter parents at study end scored higher in authority (limit setting) and communicating values and labels. The findings are interpreted as supporting an ecological model of substantial intersection and cross-influence between home and day care settings.