The recent study of children's behaviors when exposed to childcare raises more questions than it does results. Tracing behaviors in a study based on observation is problematic at best. The number of variables that could affect the outcome in this study is daunting. Some (certainly not a complete list) of the considerations that should be taken when assessing a child's behavior as a result of childcare include the quality and type of childcare and the setting, the level of family involvement in the individual child's life outside of childcare and economic or environmental stresses that can impact the child.
The best of the providers in the childcare profession are providing quality care, struggling to maintain fiscal solvency, trying to pay worthy wages, developing educated and professional staff all while charging a fee that is far below the true cost of the service. There is a continual battle at the state and federal level to subsidize the cost of care through financial assistance to parents, grants to childcare programs and assistance to professionals seeking education and training. Each year programs wait for political action to determine, in large part, whether grants and subsidies will enable the provider to offer care at the current rates. I fear that the headliner appeal of this study will result in reactionary politics that could cut funding and disable professionalism in care.
At the parent level the fees for childcare often determine whether a parent can afford to go to work. Subsidizing working parents became a key issue in welfare reform. Many of the double-income families contributing to our economy are earning two incomes only because quality care is available and affordable.
The choice to put your child in another person's care is a choice that requires soul-searching and tough decisions. After coming to terms with the idea of putting your child in care the costs can be overwhelming. If childcare discredited in the headlines and research based on observation alone go unchallenged, many working parents will suffer.
I believe that quality childcare can be beneficial both behaviorally and educationally for young children. An educational group setting can prepare a child for an easier more successful transition into school. Growing brains and behaviors learn from stimulation and problem solving that occurs in educational settings. I support childcare and am grateful for it.
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