Child care: Wikis

  

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Childcare, child care, or babycare is the act of caring for and supervising children from 0-16 years of age. (In the UK and Australia, day care is referred to as "childcare".) In the united States child care is increasingly referred to as early care and education or early childhood education due to the understanding of the impact of early experiences of the developing child.

Child care is a broad topic covering a wide spectrum of contexts, activities, social and cultural conventions, and institutions.

Contents

Childcare roles

It is traditional in western society for children to be taken care of by one or both parents. In families where children live with one or both of their parents, the childcare role may also be taken on by the extended family. In the absence of one or both parents and the extended family willing to care for the children, orphanages are a way of providing for children's care, housing, and schooling.

The three main types of child care options for most American working families include in-home care, family care, and child care centers. Many American working families are two-job households, and this means that childcare is often delegated to childminders or crèches on a full-time or part-time basis.

In-home care typically is provided by nannies, au-pairs, or friends and family. The child is watched inside their or the child carer's home, reducing exposure to outside children and illnesses. Depending on the number of children in the home, the children utilizing in-home care enjoy the greatest amount of interaction with their caregiver, forming a close bond. There are no required licensing or background checks for in-home care, making parental vigilance essential in choosing an appropriate caregiver. Nanny and au-pair services provide certified caregivers and the cost of in-home care is the highest of childcare options per child, though a household with many children may find this the most convenient and affordable option.

At the same time, a nanny or au-pairs are not always the best methods of childcare. It confines the child into a world of their own. It keeps them from interacting with other children a lot of the time. As mentioned the caregivers do not need licenses or background checks so there is no way of telling if a person is really qualified or has a criminal background. These things should be taken in consideration when making a choice.

Family care is provided from a care giver's personal home, making the atmosphere most similar to a child's home. State licensing requirements vary, so the parent should conduct careful interviews and home inspections, as well as complete a background check on the caregiver's license. Any complaints against the caregiver will be documented and available for public record. Family care is generally the most affordable childcare option, and offers flexibility in hours available for care. In addition, family care generally has a small ratio of children in care, allowing for more interaction between child and provider than would be had at a commercial care center.

Commercial care centers are open for set hours, and provide a standardized and regulated system of care for children. Parents may choose from a commercial care center close to their work, and some companies offer care at their facilities. Active children may thrive in the educational activities provided by a quality commercial care center, but according to the National Center for Early Development and Learning, children from low quality centers may be significantly less advanced in terms of vocabulary and reading skills.[1] Classes are usually largest in this type of care, ratios of children to adult caregivers will vary according to state licensing requirements.

Regardless of type of care chosen, a quality care provider should provide children with light, bright and clean areas to play as well as separate sleeping and eating areas.

Most western countries also have compulsory education during which the great majority of children are at school starting from five or six years of age. The school will act in loco parentis meaning "in lieu of parent supervision".

Effects on child development

For many, the use of paid childcare is a matter of choice with arguments on both sides about whether this is beneficial or harmful[1] to children.

The first few years of a child's life are important to form a basis for good education, morality, self-discipline and social integration. Consistency of approach, skills and qualifications of careers have been shown in many studies to improve the chances of a child reaching his or her full potential. However, the choice of childcare can be extremely difficult, even traumatic for parents. Social scientists have recently started drawing on popular folktales such as urban legends in order to uncover some of the complex socio-psychological elements in the decision, which is often more protracted and involved for middle-class parents[2]. Here it is also possible to see the influence of older story-telling elements such as Grimm's Fairy Tales where children learn about the dangers of allowing strangers into the home.

For example, a recent study in Australia[3] concluded that centers run by corporate chains provided the lowest quality care when compared to community-based providers and independent private centers.

In many locales, government is responsible for monitoring the quality of care. For instance, in Scotland Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education is responsible for improving care and education for children from birth to eighteen. This is implemented by inspections carried out by HMIE itself or by other members of inspection and review teams. Inspection reports include feedback from staff and parents as well as the inspectors, aiming to provide parents and carers information to help them decide whether a particular child care setting is providing good quality child care and meeting government standards.[4]

See also

Notes

Both childcare and child care are common, acceptable spellings. However child care is the preferred spelling in accordance with AP Style.[citation needed]

References

  1. ^ Daycare - Daycares Don't Care, How Can a Daycare Love?
  2. ^ Robin Croft (2006), Folklore, families and fear: understanding consumption decisions through the oral tradition, Journal of Marketing Management, 22:9/10, pp1053-1076, ISSN 0267-257X
  3. ^ 2006, Rush, The Australia Institute http://www.tai.org.au/documents/downloads/DP84.pdf
  4. ^ "Childproof Your Home!". Published by VeryTogether.com Published April 03, 2009. http://verytogether.com/family/babies/childproof-your-home.html. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 

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