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Title: Does childcare attendance influence lexical skills of young Maltese children?
Authors: Debattista, Michela
Keywords: Preschool children -- Malta
Language acquisition
Child care services -- Malta
Vocabulary -- Study and teaching (Early childhood) -- Malta
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: The current study investigates the relationship between childcare attendance and lexical skills of Maltese-dominant preschoolers aged 3 to 3;04 years. Eighteen typically developing children were recruited from six state schools. Ten of the participants used to attend childcare prior to attendance to KG and eight participants were cared for by parents or relatives in the home. Receptive lexical skills were assessed using an informal receptive lexical task, whilst expressive lexical skills were assessed through use of an informal structured Picture Naming Task and analysis of spontaneous language samples. The participants’ total receptive and expressive vocabularies were calculated and data was analysed quantitatively using statistical tools in order to compare performance between the two groups. Use of Maltese and English types in expressive tasks were also calculated and compared. Interviews were carried out with the parents in order to provide background information on the participants, information on their language exposure, lexical development and details on type of care provided. Generally, children who attended childcare obtained higher vocabulary scores in comparison to children who were primarily cared for by parents or relatives in the home. Considerably higher expressive vocabulary scores were associated with childcare attendance. Regardless of balance of bilingual exposure provided, the prominence of the dominant language was discernible in spontaneous language across both groups. Participants who attended childcare used a higher percentage of English words in the structured naming task in comparison to their counterparts. The key themes derived from the interviews were the receptive and expressive components of language and lexical development, the importance of parental input and the mother-child bond in the early years, perceptions and attitudes towards childcare attendance and different aspects of childcare quality.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacHSc - 2017
Dissertations - FacHScCT - 2017

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