Boys, Girls, and "Two Cultures" of Child Care
Abstract

Abstract:

This study examined differences in the quality of child care experienced by toddler boys and girls. Boys were more likely to be in lower-quality child care than girls, assessed with both setting-level measures and observations of caregiver-child interaction. A possible explanatory mechanism for the gender differences is suggested by evidence that the child care providers rated boys' behavior as more problematic and the provider-child relationship as less close as compared to girls. These perceived differences were not reflected in independent observations of the toddler's behavior or temperament. It was also the case that center-based classrooms with higher percentages of boys were rated lower in setting-level quality. Discussion focuses on the implications of these findings for child caregiver training and for parents seeking child care, as well as on the importance of examining gender as a salient child characteristic in child care research.