Informations and abstract
Keywords: Child care, center based care, social development, ecology of development, attachment.
In a perspective of developmental system theory this review examines the main studies concerning the effects of early and extensive child care on development, and focuses in particular on the center based care, also taking into account some data collected in Italy. Following the conclusions, there is not enough evidence that early and extended child care, and in particular center-based care, has negative effects on the security of attachment, when the quality is "good enough", though some temporary emotional stress can appear for some children, as revealed also by investigations based on the rate of salivary cortisol. Moreover, research has shown that the quality infant child care is related to cognitive and language development in the preschool years. Concerns about the effects of early and extensive child care on higher levels of noncompliance and conflict in the preschool years seem to remain valid, though more research is needed to clarify why and when these effects occur in order to prevent them.