What children's cortisol levels tell us about quality in childcare centres
Early Childhood Australia Inc
School of International, Cultural and Community Studies
The Australian childcare profession has watched with some concern results of research coming out of North America indicating that child care is not good for children. This research identifies undesirable outcomes in children's development and behaviour as a result of childcare attendance. How does this research apply to Australian children in Australian childcare centres? Australian research is limited, and this paper reports on results to date of an Australian study of children's biological stress levels (measured using salivary cortisol) and their relationship with quality child care. Results demonstrate clearly that children attending high-quality child care have lower stress levels across the day than do children attending satisfactory or unsatisfactory programs. Poor-quality child care is not good for children.