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Sustaining the support in four-year-olds in childcare services with the goal of promoting their cognitive and language development

This paper aims to describe the quality of play as offered by early childhood educators working with four-year-olds within an educational childcare service. It also aims to identify the correlation between the quality of play support and a child's cognitive, language and socioemotional development. Finally, it focuses on the factors associated with the quality of play support provided by educational childcare centres and the characteristics of the educators involved. The sample included 170 educators working with four-year-olds. Results show that higher quality of play are linked with higher cognitive and language development. Other factors with a positive impact on play include: group of eight children, higher educator-to-child ratios, groups with male educators and groups whose personnel have followed more than 24 hours of in-service training and who express positive feelings towards their work. The discussion addresses the significance of these findings in childcare services. (author abstract)
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