Thursday, September 24, 2015

Canadian Federal Election 2015 - Love is a Must, in Child Care

As the election nears, there is more and more talk about daycare. I don't know how true this is, but I have read from some sources, over the past few years, that children in daycare centres do better academically in the first few years of school than their stay-at-home counterparts. Yet, later on, there are more behavioural issues from the kids who attended large daycares.

Having run a home daycare, I'm just wondering if there's not a happy medium between home care and daycare centres? I'm not saying that home daycare is the answer. There are aspects of the centres that are more appealing. There are more resources, there is more room, and there is more staff. I state that last point not because I think the kids are any less safe with me than at a centre, but just in terms of, for example, not having to make a child wait for a cuddle when I'm cooking burgers on the stove.

But I'm wondering, is the downside of centres that each individual child is not loved or valued enough? Do some kids get lost in the shuffle, so that deep bonds are not being made? We have a pretty tight knit group here, and I've recently realized how invaluable this is for these little ones. Can big centres learn a few things from smaller daycares, and more importantly, from home?

Being and feeling loved seems like a pretty important need for the young, in my opinion. And it's easier to build academic skills when one has good mental health, whereas mental health cannot be learned through academics.

And although important, the goal of child care should not be for mom and dad to work without losing so much of their income to child care. (Don't get mad. Hear me out. I'm not saying child care costs should be beyond parents' means.) The critical goal of child care should be to provide a better future for that child, academically, socially, AND psychologically. It's time the government put our children first, by focusing on research that tells us how best to care for children, and then making sure that it's implemented.

Yes, it sounds so shmultzy, but I really do believe there has to be love, even at the daycare centres. Taking care of physical and educational needs is not enough.

Perhaps, we should be thinking not only about getting and keeping mothers in the workforce, but also about what would provide our children with the best care, and how to build respect for the child care industry. I don't pretend to have all the answers. In fact, being a parent and providing child care has been one of the most humbling experiences. It is, for lack of a better term, rocket science. Yet this shouldn't scare us from delving into the issue of how to raise healthy human beings. We need to deepen this conversation. It should be about more than just price.

#childcare #daycare #federalelection2015 #universalchildcare #childcaremodernizationact #nationalchildcare

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