Efficacy of Early Childcare
Publication Date
Lead Organisation
Victoria University of Wellington
Lead Researcher
Phillip Riley
Access Type
Primary Classification
Family and Whanau
Secondary Classification

My research aims to examine the role of early childcare in children’s development, and the way early childcare promotes family processes that matter for children. My three primary research questions will address: (i) whether early childcare experiences are associated with children’s development both in the short- and longer-term; (ii) whether these experiences matter differently for children from different socioeconomic backgrounds and of different ethnicities; and, (iii) whether early childcare promotes family processes, such as engaged parenting, in ways that might explain the potential connection between early childcare and children’s development. 

I will use data from the antenatal, 9-month, 2-year, 54-month, and 8-year waves. In line with the literature, variables selected are based on their importance in understanding the association between early childcare and child development. This includes: type of childcare attended, hours spent in early childcare, and years spent in early childcare. Key covariates include mothers’ ethnicity and highest qualification, and both cognitive and socioemotional outcomes will be examined. A wide range of covariates will be used in the analysis.

A mixture of descriptive analyses and structural equation modelling (SEM) will be used to analyse children’s early childcare experiences and to examine how these experiences are associated with their development and wellbeing. Moderated mediation analysis will be used to examine for whom these experiences are most salient, and how promotion of positive family processes may be a potential mechanism explaining these associations.

Anticipated outputs include my PhD Thesis (and subsequent journal articles based on my thesis chapters), as well as 1-2 presentations.