We all know the adage. It takes a village to raise a child. It turns out that actually utilizing that village is not only good for you, it's good for your child.
The authors start by pointing out that in other cultures and generations it has NOT been customary for the mom to stay behind and raise the children alone. In fact, those cultures "might view our belief that mothers and fathers should raise children without outside advice or help as a form of insanity."
And now some of the benefits of childcare that surprised me:
"In a remarkable longitudinal study, The High/Scope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40, researchers examined the lives of a group of forty-year-old adults, all of whom had taken part in a test project during their preschool years. The project found that those adults who had participated in 'quality' early-care programs went on to achieve higher school test scores and had higher rates of high school graduation than those children who had not received 'quality' early-care experiences. The children in the programs identified as 'quality' care also were less likely to be involved in crime as adults and averaged far more in annual earnings. School success, lowered crime rates, and workplace productivity are society-wide goals. Findings such as these remind us how deep the roots of our early experiences are."
Wow. I found this so interesting that I looked up this study and found even more of this evidence.
This does NOT mean that we should take childcare too seriously though. The author points out that childcare comes in many different forms and fashion - from in-home daycare centers, days with extended family members, blocks of time at community centers, etc. They discourage centers with too much focus on academics however. Another relevant study quoted from the Temple University Infant Lab:
"The research confirmed that children who attended academic preschools did know more numbers and letters than the children who went to play-oriented preschools. By age five, however, the kids from the play-oriented preschools had caught up, while those attending academic preschools felt less positive about school."
The lesson here: we should use the resources at our disposal instead of trying to do it all ourselves, yet we should not take it too seriously. No need to push a 2 year-old to read postmodernism. Just let them enjoy their community and eat paste.