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Families and Child Care: Divergent Viewpoints

Susan D. Holloway and Bruce Fuller
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 563, The Silent Crisis in U. S. Child Care (May, 1999), pp. 98-115
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1048942
Page Count: 18
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Families and Child Care: Divergent Viewpoints
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Abstract

The authors outline two perspectives on the respective roles of families and preschools in socializing and educating young children. The family-oriented perspective emphasizes the primacy of parents as educators, moral guides, and nurturers of their children. The early childhood education perspective is more likely to view preschools as independent of the family. This perspective highlights the scientific basis of the early socialization enterprise and emphasizes research on universal developmental sequences. These two perspectives yield distinct responses to important policy questions about child care. Those with a family-oriented perspective advocate obtaining descriptive accounts of parents' goals, values, and practices and creating child care choices that reflect these considerations. Early childhood education advocates are concerned about promoting universal guidelines based upon professional expertise to ensure high quality and feel that parents will select this care if given appropriate education concerning its value to their young children. The authors argue that attempts to improve quality and increase supply must integrate the culturally based preferences of parents with knowledge about universal developmental processes gleaned from research and practice.

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