Childcare varies dramatically across cultures. These discrepancies are attributed to the homestead and household environments. That is, the type of work performed by adult caretakers in a given community strongly influence the type of childcare used. In agricultural/ horticultural societies where work is done to provide sustenance for the community, siblings and similar-aged children are responsible for younger children. While many global communities prefer children aged 7–10 for designated caregiving responsibilities, children no younger than 12 are preferred in the Western world where paid childcare is common.
An important aspect that many center based child cares have been trying to implement into their mission statement and everyday routine has been of being aware of the multiple cultures they will be dealing with. This was seen as being important because of the growing numbers of families considering and seeking childcare. Childcare has become an important aspect of society since, “Over thirteen million American children under 5 years of age experience some form of child care before entering formal school.” Programs must understand similarities and differences between cultures/ ethnic groups. This must be done to understand the overall diversity of the community. Children should be able to have their cultural practices represented as well as be able to learn about other cultures they have not been exposed to. This is of great importance because it adds to their mental development and their understanding of the world.
Looking for child care? Parents can receive free referrals and information about child care programs from their local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency or online at www.excelerateillinois.com. Referrals to all types of child care providers - licensed centers, family child care homes, and group child care homes as well as license exempt centers and homes are available. Information on quality of care, State licensing and the Illinois ExceleRate system are also available.
Access to child care is essential to a woman’s ability to participate in the workforce, and a lack of access to child care affects the work-family balance of both women and men. Women need to have the ability to make the choices that are best for them and their families in both the short and long term, and greater national investments in child care and preschool programs could help remove some of the constraints that may push mothers toward decisions that have negative economic consequences for them and their families down the road. It would make quality care more affordable for American families and support mothers’ employment.
The costs of child care are even more extreme for younger mothers. The average age when mother’s first give birth in the United States is 25.7 years, meaning that half of new mothers are under the age of 26 when they have their first child. Not surprisingly, younger mothers tend to have lower incomes: By virtue of their age, they have less job tenure and are more likely than older mothers to still be completing their education. But this means that mothers under age 25 with a young child who are paying for child care end up spending a staggering one-third—33 percent—of their income on care because they typically earn less. (see Table 1) It is critical that these women have the opportunity to finish their education and gain job experience, but child care expenses can make that a daunting prospect.
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Our tuition based preschool programs use the Connect 4 Learning curriculum with an emphasis on S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) to promote innovative thinking in our young learners. We offer a literacy rich program which includes oral language development, rhyme, writing, and phonemic awareness. We believe children learn through play and hands-on experiences. We place an enormous value on the role of the environment as a motivating force for creative learning. Each preschool classroom environment is equipped with these interest areas: dramatic play, blocks, art, sand/water sensory table, math manipulatives/puzzles and games, music and movement, science and STEAM stations. Outdoor play time, library, technology and cooking activities are included in our daily schedules. We recognize class size is another crucial factor in educating young children. Our preschool class sizes will not exceed 16 children in a classroom. Smaller class sizes mean we are able to provide more individualized instruction to our preschoolers during our small group times and throughout our preschool day.
The vast majority of childcare is still performed by the parents, in-house nanny or through informal arrangements with relatives, neighbors or friends. For example, in Canada, among two parent families with at least one working parent, 62% of parents handle the childcare themselves, 32% have other in-home care (nannies, relatives, neighbours or friends) and only 6.5% use a formal day care center.
Licensed or unlicensed home daycare is also referred to as family child care, or in home care. It refers to the care provided to a group of children in the home of a caregiver. State laws differ regarding rules for licensed versus unlicensed care. In Canada, most home daycares are unlicensed, and this is completely lawful. Licensing home daycares in Canada can help greatly with oversight, but at the cost of a large portion of the daycare provider's pay. Family child cares are small in size and provide families the same securities as a daycare center, and also has the benefits of flexible hours, lower costs, accessibility, and cultural compatibility. Home-based providers can give more individualized care and therefore better meet the needs of working families. 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. Family child care helps foster emotionally secure interpersonal relationships for everyone involved. The providers are able to communicate each day with parents on a personal level and share information about the development of the child. Providers care for multi-aged groups of children allowing children to remain with one caregiver for many years which helps children develop a sense of trust and security. Multi-aged settings allow children to learn from one another and allow siblings to stay together. Some family child care providers may offer parents more flexibility with hours of operation such as evening, weekend, overnight, and before and after school care. In the United States, some family child care providers work with companies such as Wonderschool, for assistance in licensing, operations, marketing, and administrative support.
More contemporary proposals for government advancement of day care in the United States have experienced a checkered path, for example, in 1971, the Comprehensive Child Development Act was passed by Congress, but was vetoed by Richard Nixon. It "would have created nationally funded child care centers providing early childhood services and after-school care, as well as nutrition, counseling, and even medical and dental care. The centers would charge parents on a sliding scale." Various proposals have been considered, but to date, none leading to legislation that would establish a national policy supporting day care in the United States.