Archive for the ‘non-parental childcare’ Category

Swedish childcare system is hardly a utopian model

June 28, 2011

Click here for this article from the Irish Times.

Also here for “Rose-tinted view of ‘Nordic’ childcare based on misconceptions”.

Early years childcare in East Germany

March 17, 2011

The implication of this article is that taxpayers should finance non-parental childcare so that mothers (or indeed fathers) do not have the onerous obligation of looking after their own children.

Even simpler would be to permanently put children into state-run orphanages. That would save parents the hassle of having to even put children to bed and look after them at weekends and holidays when schools are closed.

Why can’t governments just let alone and allow people to make their own choices? Some parents want to look after their own children, others don’t. Why should the tax and benefits system favour one group over another?

The great nursery debate

October 2, 2010

Click here for this piece from The Guardian, which does appear to be even-handed, quoting people and research from both sides of the debate. (more…)

The Pass-Around Baby

September 17, 2010

Click here for a report on research into the link between multiple child-care arrangements and behaviour. It starts:

Life can be hard for young children cared for by one stranger on Mondays and Wednesdays, a different stranger on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and yet a third stranger on Fridays. To clarify just how hard it is for children to deal with such shifting child-care arrangements, researcher Taryn W. Morrissey recently examined “associations between changes in the number of concurrent, nonparental child-care arrangements and changes in children’s behavioral outcomes at 2 and 3 years of age.

What I’m really thinking: The stay-at-home mum

August 19, 2010

‘I tell myself working mothers are just jealous of the opportunity I have and worried that I am a better mum. But I suspect they actually think I am a bit thick’

Click here for the rest of this sympathetic Guardian article.

Labour’s ‘nappy curriculum’ to be reviewed

July 7, 2010

Click here for an article from The Independent.

Perhaps this sort of state interference will decrease as its cost – and dubious benefits – becomes clearer. Such a curriculum could be voluntary, with parents choosing what is best for their own children.

Front-loading child benefit

June 22, 2010

Frank Field, a Labour MP, the new coalition’s government’s poverty advisor, and a past FTM AGM speaker, has proposed increasing child benefit for early years and decreasing it for later years. This will certainly make it easier for families with younger children to survive on just one income and have the mother (of the father) at home most of the time.

But cutting child benefit for older children underestimates the ‘face-time’ that teenagers require. Better would be to finance an increase in child benefit – across the board – by scrapping non-parental childcare subsidies, such as nurseries.

Gove confirms free childcare entitlement

June 9, 2010

This shows that the new government is just as keen as previous ones to pay for children to be looked after by anyone other than their own parents.

One long-time FTM member says:

Perhaps we could look at a more imaginative system,  instead of free childcare entitlement for all three- and four-year olds.   For example, you could look at a voucher/credit system for parents . The vouchers could be redeemed either a) immediately to access free, quality childcare for those parents who want or need it in the pre-school years OR  b) deferred until the middle years under a kind of credit system so that parents who don’t feel comfortable with childcare so very early on in the child’s life can use the vouchers later,  in order to help fund holiday care/clubs or even to help pay for music lessons, swimming lessons, drama clubs, transport, ‘free’ school meals, etc. Not every young child is suited to early childcare from age two and not every parent believes this is the best that can be provided for their individual child’s needs.

If we support choice for parents it can only be a good thing – and it would also spread the benefit through from early years into the middle years when lots of children are more ‘school-ready’.

I am not sure about the rationale behind the present system of encouraging more childcare in the early years – I presume it’s a combination of encouraging mothers/fathers back to work and also to provide a ‘stimulating’ , structured environment for the child so that they are apparently better prepared for formal schooling later (are they?).   Trouble is there aren’t that many jobs for 12-15 hours per week term-time only.

Furthermore not all children want or benefit from a noisy group care environment  – indeed it can mean the children have started formal care two or three years before even starting  reception – and long before they’re potty trained which can be a stressful time for many toddlers.   There’s a lot to be said about having a more peaceful start to life!

There are plenty of opportunities for stimulating activities when mothers (or fathers) go to play-and-stay sessions  – or toddler singing groups – gym clubs etc – spending time together, getting to know the world together, bonding as a family.
Of course more family time is not always possible – but we should at least aspire to children having the very best possible start – and

I can’t help questioning whether our obsession with early group childcare is really progress in they way we raise our kids in the UK.

The folly of means-tested (child) benefit

May 14, 2010

Reports are that child benefits ‘for the rich’ are firmly in the sights on the new British coalition government as it seeks to tackle the huge deficit in public finances. And what could be wrong with not giving money to people who do not need it? (more…)

The future for QUANGOs

May 11, 2010

Bearing in mind the probable axing of the London Childcare team, (see here) Anna Line’s FTM’s chair, writes:

I encountered members of this Childcare Team some years ago when I was invited to take part in a discussion on the Politics Show one Sunday lunchtime in that oddly shaped London Assembly building by the Thames. The discussion centred around the question of providing childcare for mothers of very young children who might just want to work short hours in, say, schools at lunchtime, and they would of course need to have their children looked after. (more…)