Philobiblon: The old childcare debate

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The old childcare debate

Bound to get a huge amount of attention today is a story in the Observer about a study that found young children doing better in meeting developmental goals when primarily cared for by their mothers.

Easy to know what will be done with that - get women barefoot and pregnant back in the kitchen. But of course there is another way of telling that, as Yvonne Roberts makes clear:

Leach insisted her findings should not be interpreted as a demand that mothers stay at home. Instead, she described it is as supporting a demand for 'developmentally appropriate high quality childcare'.

Indeed it is interesting that children with childcarers did better than those with relatives, probably the researchers suggest, because childcarers (usually women looking after three or so children in their own home) made more plans and had training in helping the babies develop, which the relatives lacked.

Somehow I doubt that the need for higher-quality childcare is the spin this story will get in most quarters, however.


Blogger AnonyMiss said...

That's very interesting about the children doing better with childcarers than with relatives.

10/02/2005 06:33:00 pm  
Anonymous KathyF said...

I noticed it said something about children of mothers who didn't want to be mothers/at home not doing very well. Which sort of indicates the whole study can be misconstrued pretty easily. Sounds like some mothers make good child carers, but others don't.

10/03/2005 10:44:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

The researcher tries hard to make these points - and you can see why she gave the story in advance to Yvonne Roberts, who I've met and is very decent, but of course once the Daily Mail et al got hold of it ... I heard the poor researcher on BBC Radio Five this afternoon sounding very fed up.

10/03/2005 10:48:00 pm  

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