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What We Know about Childcare (Developing Child)by Alison Clarke-stewart
Synopses & Reviews
"Childcare is as necessary for most families as an automobile and a microwave oven, but infinitely harder to find and more expensive to buy. And there is no Consumer Reports rating to refer to in assessing the quality of that care."--from page 172 "Children in childcare centers do better intellectually than children who remain at home. Children in childcare centers did better on tests of verbal fluency, memory, and comprehension . . . and they were able to identify other peoples' feelings and points of view earlier."--from page 87 "Some studies also show that children in childcare tend to be less polite, less agreeable, less compliant with their mothers' or caregivers' demands and requests, less respectful of others' rights . . . How can we integrate these negative differences with the differences in positive social behavior? Are children in childcare . . . socially skilled but bossy, friendly but aggressive, outgoing but rude? It has been suggested--not totally facetiously--that this profile sounds a lot like a successful CEO. It turns out, however, that it is not the same children who are friendly and bossy . . . It seems likely that childcare promotes social advancement in some children and leads to behavior problems in others."--from page 90 "There is no proof that being in care in infancy leads to behavior problems down the road . . . There is no compelling evidence that beginning care in infancy has detrimental effects on children's relationships with their mothers."--from page 99 "Although boys in childcare do indeed become more sociable than boys at home--and although girls in childcare do increase in autonomy, problem solving, and even belligerence--childcare does not wipe out the differences between the sexes . . . Are there other differences in the effects of childcare on boys and girls? It has frequently been documented that boys are more vulnerable to events in the environment, girls more resilient . . . Are boys worse off than girls when in childcare? The answer is a weak 'maybe.'"--from pages 101-102 "Good-quality care may serve as a protective factor for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, but its effects are not inevitable, nor do they wipe out family disadvantage."--from page 161 "The tensions expressed by these parents--who are using childcare but worrying about it--suggest that researchers need to communicate better about the positive effects of care on children's development and family well-being. Parents need to feel assured that they are doing well by their children, that childcare can be a positive experience, and that both they and their children can benefit from it. Parents also need to feel empowered to evaluate childcare facilities accurately . . . And finally, parents should appreciate that the quality of a child's home life is still likely to be the most important factor in his or her development, even for children who spend many hours in childcare each week."--from page 165
Nearly three-quarters of American mothers work full- or part-time--usually out of financial necessity--and require regular child care. How do such arrangements affect children? If they are not at home with their mothers, will they be badly behaved, intellectually delayed, or emotionally stunted?
Backed by the best current research, Alison Clarke-Stewart and Virginia Allhusen bring a reassuring answer to parents' fears and offer guidance for making difficult decisions. Quality child care, they show, may be even more beneficial to children than staying at home. Although children who spend many hours in care may be unruly compared with children at home, those who attend quality programs tend to be cognitively ahead of their peers. They are just as attached to their mothers and reap the additional benefits of engaging with other children.
Ultimately, it's parents who matter most; what happens at home makes the difference in how children develop. And today's working mothers actually spend more time interacting with their children than stay-at-home mothers did a generation ago.
About the Author
Alison Clarke-Stewart is Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior and Associate Dean of Research at the University of California, Irvine.Virginia D. Allhusen is Research Associate in Psychology and Social Behavior and, along with Clarke-Stewart, is senior researcher in the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development at the University of California, Irvine.
University of California, Irvine
Table of Contents
PART ONE: A NATION TRANSFORMED
PART TWO: A QUARTER CENTURY OF RESEARCH
PART THREE: LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
What Our Readers Are Saying
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