Monday, April 2, 2007

Child Care Study: Tell Parents The WHOLE Story

Once again the air is abuzz with the sound of the media picking the bones of a press release and finding a morsel to throw out into public view to scare the pants off them. The newest child care study released in the Washington Post sheds a poor light on childcare - when a child is in poor quality care, in a large group setting, for long hours. The media has once again decided to leave out the details in order to sensationalize this and squeeze all the controversy out of it that they can. The articles popping up all over the country tell horror stories of how all of our children are doomed to negative, aggresive behavior due to being in child care.

THE TRUTH: the study actually showed that children in high quality care for short periods of time show a positive long term outcome. They keys here are that the quality needs to be high, the group needs to be small, and the parents need to spend all the time they can with their child. Well, I do believe I just gave the definition of family child care!

So providers, take a few moments this week to talk with your child care parents about this study. They are probably reading blogs and other news briefs on the web and may be concerned. Let them know that the negative effects of child care cited in the study do not apply to their child! Family child care providers provide some of the highest quality care in the nation. Our small group size and ability to bond individually with the children, and continue relationships as they grow older offer children a level of quality that is leaps and bounds above that which centers can provide.

Does this mean then that centers provide low quality care? Hey now! Don't act like the media does, take the time to truly understand the issue. While it's true that centers house many more children - they also have individual classrooms. So the question isn't how big is the center, it's how big is the classroom. I am often asked by parents to tell them which center in town I think is the best, I always respond the same - the place where you take your child for care is only as good as the teacher and classroom where your child will be. So, centers that maintain small classrooms and hire quality, trained staff with that "I love what I do" X factor in their gut, are just as likey to provide the level of quality a child deserves as a family child care provider.

The point here is, that if you know your a great teacher or FCC provider, don't keep it a secret! Tell the parents all you do to keep the quality high in your classroom/home environment. Tell them why you are the part of the study that showed child care as a benefit for children and why you shouldn't be compared to the places that have a negative effect on children.

Better yet, call your local newspaper, radio and TV people and let them know there's a GREAT daycare in their midst and it's about time they covered the story!

1 comment:

Rosemary Bogdan said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, Patricia. You're right the media does always sensationalize everything. I would like to see the actual study. I wish these stories would give us the actual data...