Mr. Bxx Lxxxxx
September 5, 2010
Is child care having a negative effect on the development of children in the United States? Studies show that there are indeed negative psychological and developmental effects on children. Scientists in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom are coming to the same conclusion. It is best for a child to be cared for at home.
Over the past five to six decades women have been entering the workforce in ever increasing numbers. Some enter because of financial need and others for professional and career goals. Whatever the reason, the result for the children is the same; they are in daycare. Many professionals have debated for years about the pros and cons of all-day daycare for children. Does age matter, does amount of time per day matter, does size of facility matter, does the education and training of the staff matter, does staff turnover matter…some experts say yes, others say no. The truth is all of these things matter.
As an infant grows and develops it forms attachments that will shape its emotional and social development. Once a woman’s maternity leave is over she must make the decision whether to return to work or stay home with her newborn. This is a tough decision! For many moms, working is not an option; either due to single parenthood, a spouse that is unemployed or underemployed, or just a desire to have her own career. Unfortunately the infant suffers long lasting effects as a result. An infant’s development is based on a secure attachment to a primary caregiver. This is one of the most crucial stages of development in a child’s life and if this stage is interrupted they will likely suffer emotionally and socially.
A child’s attachment to its caregiver is not fully and “securely formed until about two years of age”. (Day care information, Essortment, pg. 1). An interruption to this attachment can happen for many reasons; divorce, death of the mother, neglect, or long-term daily separation. When a strong and secure attachment is not formed during the first year of a child’s life, then it is unlikely that the child will never be able to form “stable intimate relationships, such as close friendships or even marriage”. (Day care Information, Essortment, pg. 2). In my line of work as an elementary school teacher assistant, I see this every day. My classes of first graders ages six to seven years old are filled with children that have dramatic separation anxiety, significant aggression, emotional immaturity, and difficulty forming meaningful friendships. I live in a community where many of the mothers are able to stay at home and care for their children. It is almost always apparent which children were raised at home by their moms and which spent most of their early childhood in daycare. It is evident that parent-infant bonding is crucial. “Western specialists say that if this bonding is not established…it will not develop later.” (Miller, pg. 151).
Many parents are under the misconception that ‘hothousing’, which is more education at an earlier age, is better. However, they are not quite right. Even professional educators have taken the position that early and more education for children is better. It is many professional educators belief that enrolling children in preschool, pre-kindergarten, and all-day kindergarten is better for the child. But some experts are theorizing that programs like all-day kindergarten only exist to encourage more women to reenter the workforce thereby increasing the local tax base. This is not a valid reason for putting our children’s development at risk. In addition, according the Jeanette McCarthy Gallagher at Temple University, “There is a natural pace to the development of children. When we hothouse children, we superimpose a learning environment in order to make them learn faster.” (ProQuest, New York...