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An exploratory investigation of middle childhood friendships, quality of care and children's satisfaction with school-age care programs

By Holly M Gage

Abstract

This exploratory investigation was conducted to address the issue of middle childhood friendships in relation to 8-to-12-year-old children's levels of satisfaction and willingness to return to school-age programs the following year. Various aspects of middle childhood friendships were explored in this study: (1) number of friendships, (2) types of friendships, and (3) children's perceptions of the extent to which school-age program's accommodated their friendship needs. Quality of care as assessed by trained observers using the School-Age Care Environment Scale (SACERS) was also measured in relation to older school-age children's satisfaction and willingness to return to these programs using the Children's Perspectives of School-Age Care Questionnaire. In addition, three particular dimensions of quality (i.e., intermittent supervision, free choice in programming, and leadership opportunities) believed to be important to older children were also examined in relation to children's satisfaction and willingness to return to these programs. Fifty-four children from five different school-based child care programs participated in the present study. The information was gathered from children via questionnaires that were administered individually in a group setting. Results indicated that quality as assessed by trained observers (i.e., SACERS) was negatively related to children's levels of satisfaction with these programs. Programs that were perceived by children to accommodate their friendship needs were related to increased levels of satisfaction, as well as a greater willingness to return to these programs. The nomination of more best friends attending the programs was associated with increased willingness to return to the programs. Children expressed higher levels of satisfaction and willingness to return to these programs when they perceived their programs as providing them with more free choice. However, in relation to the SACERS quality scores, free choice and leadership opportunities were negatively associated

Year: 2000
OAI identifier: oai:https://spectrum.library.concordia.ca:1002

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