Childcare

Childcare

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Encyclopedia
Child care means caring for and supervising child
Child
Biologically, a child is generally a human between the stages of birth and puberty. Some vernacular definitions of a child include the fetus, as being an unborn child. The legal definition of "child" generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority...

/children usually from 0–13 years of age. In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 child care is increasingly referred to as early childhood education
Early childhood education
Early childhood education is the formal teaching and care of young children by people other than their family or in settings outside of the home. 'Early childhood' is usually defined as before the age of normal schooling - five years in most nations, though the U.S...

 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. The majority of child care institutions that are available require that child care providers have extensive training in first aid
First aid
First aid is the provision of initial care for an illness or injury. It is usually performed by non-expert, but trained personnel to a sick or injured person until definitive medical treatment can be accessed. Certain self-limiting illnesses or minor injuries may not require further medical care...

 and are CPR certified. In addition, background checks, drug testing, and reference verification
Background check
A background check or background investigation is the process of looking up and compiling criminal records, commercial records and financial records of an individual....

 are normally a requirement.

Common types



It is traditional in Western society for children to be taken care of by parent
Parent
A parent is a caretaker of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is of a child . Children can have one or more parents, but they must have two biological parents. Biological parents consist of the male who sired the child and the female who gave birth to the child...

s or legal guardian
Legal guardian
A legal guardian is a person who has the legal authority to care for the personal and property interests of another person, called a ward. Usually, a person has the status of guardian because the ward is incapable of caring for his or her own interests due to infancy, incapacity, or disability...

s. In families where children live with one or both of their parents, the childcare role may also be taken on by the extended family
Extended family
The term extended family has several distinct meanings. In modern Western cultures dominated by nuclear family constructs, it has come to be used generically to refer to grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins, whether they live together within the same household or not. However, it may also refer...

. In the absence of one or both parents and the extended family willing to care for the children, orphanage
Orphanage
An orphanage is a residential institution devoted to the care of orphans – children whose parents are deceased or otherwise unable or unwilling to care for them...

s are a way of providing for children's care, housing, and schooling.

The two main types of child care options for employed parents needing childcare are centre-based care (including creches, daycare, and preschools) and home-based care (also known as nanny or family daycare). As well as these licensed options parents may also choose to find their own caregiver or arrange childcare exchanges/swaps with another family.

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 (unless you live in a country where there is an option of obtaining home-based care through a government licensed and funded agency). These things should be taken in consideration when making a choice.

Family child 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 (depending upon the relative levels of state subsidy for centre-based care) is generally the most affordable childcare option, and offers often greater 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
Vocabulary
A person's vocabulary is the set of words within a language that are familiar to that person. A vocabulary usually develops with age, and serves as a useful and fundamental tool for communication and acquiring knowledge...

 and reading
Reading (process)
Reading is a complex cognitive process of decoding symbols for the intention of constructing or deriving meaning . It is a means of language acquisition, of communication, and of sharing information and ideas...

 skills.http://www.fpg.unc.edu/~NCEDL/pages/project_summary.cfm?study_id=4 Classes are usually largest in this type of care, ratios of children to adult caregivers will vary according to state licensing requirements.

Pre-school is often the term used to refer to child care centers that care primarily for 3 and 4 year old children. Preschool can be based in a center, family child care home or a public school. Head Start
Head Start
The Head Start Program is a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families....

 is a federally funded program for low income children ages 3 and 4 and their families. Similarly Early Head Start serves low income children birth to 3 years of age.

Regardless of type of care chosen, a quality care provider should provide children with (a) light, bright and clean areas to play as well as separate sleeping and eating areas and (b) be the kind of person you can have confidence in leaving your child with.
Most western countries also have compulsory education
Compulsory education
Compulsory education refers to a period of education that is required of all persons.-Antiquity to Medieval Era:Although Plato's The Republic is credited with having popularized the concept of compulsory education in Western intellectual thought, every parent in Judea since Moses's Covenant with...

 during which the great majority of children are at school
School
A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. Most countries have systems of formal education, which is commonly compulsory. In these systems, students progress through a series of schools...

 starting from five or six years of age. The school will act in loco parentis
In loco parentis
The term in loco parentis, Latin for "in the place of a parent"" refers to the legal responsibility of a person or organization to take on some of the functions and responsibilities of a parent...

meaning "in lieu of parent supervision".

In many locales, government is responsible for monitoring the quality of care. For instance, in Scotland Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education is an executive agency of the Scottish Government, responsible for the inspection of public and independent, primary and secondary schools, as well as further education colleges, community learning, Local Authority Education Departments and teacher...

 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.

In England Childcare is inspected and regulated by OFSTED (previously this was administered by Local Authority Social Services). Care for children under five is split into Childcare on Domestic Premises which is Childminding and Daycare. In the UK being a ‘Childminder’ is a protected title and can only be used by registered professionals. Registered Childminders are trained, insured and qualified in Paediatric First Aid. They comply/administer/work with The Early Years Foundation Stage EYFS and have the same responsibilities for education as nurseries and reception classes. They generally work from their own homes and are always self-employed setting their own terms and conditions. The basic numbers of children that childminders can care for is 6 children under 8 years of age; of these children, 3 maybe under 5 and of these 1 maybe under 1. These numbers include the childminders own children (although the childminder’s children will not be included be included n the childminding ‘Certificate’). Some childminders work with either childminding assistants or with co-childminders, which often increases the number of children that can be cared for and individual childminders can request a ‘variation’ which may increase the children that they care for particularly for ‘continuity of care’ or for twins. There is a professional body – The National Childminding Association NCMA which “Promotes and supports quality child-minding expertise” and provides information for Childminders and parents.

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 to children.

The first few years of a child's life are important to form a basis for good education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

, morality
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

, self-discipline and social integration
Social integration
Social integration, in sociology and other social sciences, is the movement of minority groups such as ethnic minorities, refugees and underprivileged sections of a society into the mainstream of societies...

. 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. ChildForum provides the following practical advice for parents when making their childcare programme decision:
(1) Do not make a final decision too quickly. You may get a misleading impression if you base your decision on what the advertisement or the brochures say, or what you are told on the phone.
(2) Have a trial period. If you are considering enrolling at a centre or home-based service have some short visits with your child before officially starting and stay with your child to observe. Also have some spontaneous/unscheduled visits, “We were just passing and thought we would pop in to say hi”.
(3) If you are employing a nanny or caregiver in your own home ask the person to come for an hour or two over three to five days or to do some childcare so you can get a feel for if this person is a good fit for your child and for you.
(4) If the childcare arrangement does not live up to your expectations or if you find it does not work out as well you had expected do not feel embarrassed or shy about withdrawing your child or asking for a change. If you think your child may be experiencing harm or is at risk discontinue using the childcare immediately. Put your child first and before any personal obligations to the teachers, nanny, or service.

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. Here it is also possible to see the influence of older story-telling elements such as Grimm's Fairy Tales
Grimm's Fairy Tales
Children's and Household Tales is a collection of German origin fairy tales first published in 1812 by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the Brothers Grimm. The collection is commonly known today as Grimms' Fairy Tales .-Composition:...

 where children learn about the dangers of allowing strangers into the home.

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

The value of unpaid child care


Parents and mothers especially spend a significant amount of time raising their children. These mothers nurture and develop their children into being functional members of society- hard work that is not motivated by monetary gain. For centuries it has been assumed that women will stay home and take care of the children while their husbands go out and work. In most cases, the husbands get all the credit for providing for the family. However, their homemaker wives deserve just as much credit for their care work. Caregivers do not receive monetary compensation and they must pay a ‘care-penalty.’

A care-penalty is the price one pays for doing care work for a family member. Care giving demands a lot out of an individual, and as a result there is a high opportunity cost. The opportunity cost can relate to both time and money. Instead of taking care of a family member, a caregiver
Caregiver
Caregiver may refer to:* Caregiver or carer - an unpaid person who cares for someone requiring support due to a disability, frailty, mental health problem, learning disability or old age...

 could spend time working or performing more leisure activities. Care penalties are not strictly related to childcare- they can also refer to taking care of a sick family member, babysitting a younger sibling, or taking an elderly family member to his/her doctor’s appointments.

Studies have been done to get an annual salary estimate for a female caregiver. One reputable survey suggested that the value of a female caregiver’s work would be $117,867 per year. The reason for the high salary is because mothers typically perform about 10 different job functions throughout the week. These job functions can include: cooking, cleaning, driving, and laundry among other duties. A nanny wouldn’t make nearly as much money, but they would be putting in fewer hours and performing fewer duties.

It is important to assess the value of caregivers because they are what truly make society function, and often times their work is under-appreciated . They prepare the next generation for school, work, and decision-making. A child’s entire future largely depends on how he/she was nurtured. Not only does the child depend on this care, but the schools and employers also depend on the childcare. The government also benefits because these children will eventually become taxpayers, congressmen, and voters. Eventually, they will be the ones running the country. The value of unpaid childcare is also an important figure in various legal entities. Expert witnesses (most often economists) are occasionally brought into court cases to give estimates on the value of unpaid labor. By giving estimation, the plaintiff or defendant can be fairly compensated for their labor.

Learning stories



Learning Stories are documents that are used by Carers and educators in childcare settings. They use a story- telling format instead of a traditional ‘observation’ report to document the different ways that young children learn, and capture the moment in greater detail and provide parents with a greater insight into the events that occur in their child’s time in childcare.
What they include
  • Story of the child’s progress
  • Pictures of the experiences (Optional)
  • The child’s strengths, interests and needs
  • Space for parent feedback

History


Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

, according to Elaine Hoffman Baruch, around 394 B.C., argued that a system of child care would free women to participate in society.

See also

  • Parental leave
    Parental leave
    Parental leave is an employee benefit that provides paid or unpaid time off work to care for a child or make arrangements for the child's welfare. Often, the term parental leave includes maternity, paternity, and adoption leave...

  • Day care
    Day care
    Child care or day care is care of a child during the day by a person other than the child's legal guardians, typically performed by someone outside the child's immediate family...

  • Nanny
    Nanny
    A nanny, childminder or child care provider, is an individual who provides care for one or more children in a family as a service...

  • Au pair
    Au pair
    An au pair is a domestic assistant from a foreign country working for, and living as part of, a host family. Typically, au pairs take on a share of the family's responsibility for childcare as well as some housework, and receive a small monetary allowance for personal use...

  • Babysitting
    Babysitting
    Babysitting is the practice of temporarily caring for a child on behalf of the child's parents. Babysitting is commonly performed as an odd job by teenagers for extra money.-General:...

  • Preschool
  • Head Start
    Head Start
    The Head Start Program is a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families....

  • Early Head Start Program
  • Nursery school
    Nursery school
    A nursery school is a school for children between the ages of one and five years, staffed by suitably qualified and other professionals who encourage and supervise educational play rather than simply providing childcare...

  • Kindergarten
    Kindergarten
    A kindergarten is a preschool educational institution for children. The term was created by Friedrich Fröbel for the play and activity institute that he created in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school...

  • Forest kindergarten
  • Playwork
    Playwork
    Playwork is the work of creating and maintaining spaces for children to play.The theory and practice of playwork recognises that children's play must be 'Freely chosen, personally driven and intrinsically motivated.' Children's playing must not be 'Adulterated' by any adult or external agendas.It...

  • Child development
    Child development
    Child development stages describe theoretical milestones of child development. Many stage models of development have been proposed, used as working concepts and in some cases asserted as nativist theories....

  • Forgotten baby syndrome
  • Work-Family Balance in the United States
    Work-Family Balance in the United States
    Work-family balance in the United States refers to the specific issues that arise when men and women in the United States attempt to balance their occupational lives with their family lives...


External links