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THE FAMILY REUNION BY MY DAUGHTER



Stephanie Poelker

Mr. Wheeler

College Preparatory English

6 May 2011

The Advantages Of A Home Daycare

            Through scarcity of childcare services and the increasing population of newborns, parents worry whether they will be able to find the daycare that will not only work with the safety, but also the moral issues that their children will encounter through their early childhood. Being able to understand the differences between a public and home daycare will provide parents with the opportunity to find the best fit for their children’s beginning foundation. Parents depend on the providers to nurture and develop the skills their child will need to be successful throughout life. As a child spends the majority of their day at this facility, it is necessary to place the child in an environment that will enhance their skills and knowledge. Granted, a public facility will provide children with the opportunity to grow educationally and socially; however, are these the only factors that develop a positive influence on a child’s future? Children need guidance and structure, but they also need nurture and understanding. As Elvis Presley states, everyone needs a little “T.L.C (Tender, Love, and Care).” These elements encourage children to be themselves, knowing they have someone that will protect and accept them no matter what. In a home daycare, the operator (also known as a babysitter) provides the opportunity for children to express themselves openly, as they are forced to use their imagination to entertain themselves. With the home as a nurturing and stable environment for children to grow up in, it is the ideal place to send a child before they are placed into the school setting.

            Education is the foundation to success throughout our lives. Therefore, it is quite important that we begin to expand our knowledge at a very early age. From the day we are born, we are spoken to in order to broaden our vocabulary and we are taught to move our body to develop our motor skills. After a few months it is time for the parents to get back to work, but who will take care of the child?  Should they go for a public facility or a home daycare? Public daycares are meant to teach the basics from the alphabet to simple math. They are meant to help children transition from preschool to kindergarten, providing them with a solid educational foundation as they begin their first day of Kindergarten. Is this the only way to advance a child’s level of learning? Baby Center, a parenting network, agrees that, although “home daycare providers often have little or no background in early childhood education and development” (1), they focus on essential skills of life. Home daycares teach kids to share, to respect others, and how to make the right decisions. In a public daycare the children may learn to play with others, but they will not develop lifelong friendships, as they are not with the same children every day. In a public facility, especially the daycares that belong to school districts, they must follow standards that restrict their ability to nurture the children. When a child feels comfortable with the person that takes care of them, they are more likely to be open with their feelings. This builds their emotional and social skills, as they know there is always someone there to provide for them. For teaching at a public daycare, they typically cannot give hugs, as it is viewed as inappropriate touching for a child that is not their own.

            With publicity on their side, public daycares get more business, as they are able to advertise more efficiently and get more credibility for being a publicly owned facility. As na´ve parents, however, they do not realize that home daycares must go through the same inspections as any public owned facility. As Amy Poelker, a home daycare operator, noted, “They all must be certified by the state as a safe environment with plenty of room for the number of children that are allowed per square feet. There must be at least 35 square feet in the inside of your home and 75 square feet in the backyard.” This means that to even open a business there must be enough space throughout your property so the children may roam free without clashing. They must get fire and health inspections and have someone from the state come every six months to check up on the home daycare.  

            Concerned for their children’s wellbeing, home daycares are eyed by many parents as skeptical, Children are exposed to the provider’s home, therefore, parents are concerned that the home is not suitable or secure enough to protect and raise children. Children are not worried about the environment of the home, but whether they feel comfortable with the people around them. In a public daycare, children enjoy the company of many teachers changing the lead teacher every day, so they begin to broaden their social development. When a child learns to attach to one person, however, they are more likely to quickly adjust to strange situations, knowing there is always someone there to protect them. Daycare centers are known for their more organized and strict learning environments, while home daycares are structured to let children explore on their own and create their own relationships amongst others. Being exposed to the home daycare gives children an environment that is familiar and safe. Miss Tara’s home daycare believes that,” The homelike environment of a family daycare minimizes behavior problems, and is a great option for kids who don't fare well in large environments.”(1)

A parent’s main concern for daycare providers is, “who is taking care of my child?” They wonder whether they have enough experience for emergency situations or whether they will be able to connect to their child to encourage their learning. At a daycare center you must put your trust in the interviewer’s hand, not knowing what standards they are looking for in their employees. Although these teachers have college education, do they have the morals that parents expect for the foundation of their children’s lives. In a public facility, who knows who these teachers really are or what morals they live by. What motivates them to do daycare? Were they raised in the type of environment I wish my child to be taught in? When a teacher that the child has come accustom to is not there because they are sick or have family issues, the parent has no idea who will replace that teacher. In a home daycare there is no need to fuss about the inconsistency of the daycare provider. The child will be given to someone the parent has interviewed and considered the ideal person to take care of their child. Giving advice about the importance of interviewing, Eileen Michalczyk, a previous elementary school teacher and former home daycare operator, admits that, “As the old adage says, first impressions mean a lot.”(1). During the interview process, it is important to invite the child and both parents to make sure the child feels safe and comfortable, as well as letting the parents thoroughly examine the set up of the home.

From the moment the parents walk through the front door, they should feel relief that their child is in a safe and nurturing environment. When interviewing a facility it is important to make sure their morals and values are correspondent to that of the parents. At a public facility it is likely that the teachers are young and just getting out of college. Whereas, at a home daycare, the majority of the providers are mothers themselves and do this because they enjoy looking after children. The mother instinct of most preschool teachers has not yet developed, making it harder to understand the importance of nurture, patience, and understanding the children as individuals versus a unit in a specific developmental age. As women have babies, they begin to develop a sense of protection and love that was not so relevant before. They understand that a child behaves better through positive reinforcement, rather than consistent punishment. As B.F. Skinner, a Harvard University Psychologist, once said, when animals and humans are “reinforced for performing an action, it is more likely to perform that action again in the future” (Holt Psychology 16). Parents who leave their children with home daycare providers know that their child will be cared for and listened to, that they are open to new ideas and activities, and that they will understand the difference between violent behaviors and just having fun.

In the beginning of a child’s life, it is necessary that they receive plenty of attention. Infants and toddlers are curious and adventurous, and without that extra attention they would put themselves into some sticky situations. At a public daycare there are many teachers, but at least three times at many students. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to keep track of every child, giving them the individual attention they need. Home daycares have a smaller adult to child ratio. The average number of children a home daycare operator will watch is four to ten. This is not only a state requirement, with ten at the most for a single operator, but it allows children to feel as though they matter to the babysitter. Charlina Stewart, a home daycare operator, recognizes that, “This is particularly important when providers are caring for infants, as they are demanding and require a lot of care.” As an infant, attention is a requirement, for this helps the child learn to trust and bond with their babysitter. For as children grow, their need for love and affection decrease, as they already exhibit the positive effects of this care as an infant or toddler. Caring not only makes children feel comfortable with strange surroundings, but it allows them to feel a since of self-worth. This positive influence later inspires their success in their future schooling and career.

Pauline Hackemann, a parent and tenure track professor, believes that understanding the pros and cons of the types of childcare services out there helps parents decide the facility that will benefit their child the most. When deciding which to consider, one must evaluate the safety, the provider’s ability to handle child issues, and the environment of the location. They must be able to trust the staff and know that they are well qualified when taking care of their children. Children are the roses waiting for that spring rain to blossom. Public institutions provide children with the opportunity to be taught by well trained staff, usually with a college degree. They provide several activities for the children to develop emotional, social, cognitive, and physical skills and leaving the child more prepared for transitioning to kindergarten. These facilities, however, provide food that may not be as tasteful, as they are mainly run through school districts. In school, children bring tons of paperwork home every day from activities done in class and children may be more susceptible to germs and disease, since public daycare centers are not legally allowed to administer any type of medication to the children. Parents are forced to sign release forms for the children to wear sunscreen and must provide their own products. Public Daycares are known to be closed on snow days and major holidays and do not usually allow outside food to be brought in for the children.

On the other hand, there are home daycares that provide almost the exact opposite approach. The food is typically tastier as there are no standards by which they have to make the food, examples that might differ are being able to provide salt, butter, ketchup, and fried foods. There may be little to no homework, compared to a public daycare and are typically much cheaper per child. Although it is cheaper, most home daycares expect the money for the week, whether the child is there or not. Amy Poelker states, “The money I receive in a week is essential to provide for my family. Without it there is no way I could feed my family, as I have no other source of income because my husband’s job pays the bills.” In a home daycare parents are allowed to provide food for the children if they wish to put them on a specific diet and usually do not have to provide items such as sunscreen, unless they are allergic to specific kinds (as a parent they already have these necessities available). With a weight being lifted off their shoulder, parents are not as concerned when their children get sick. They understand that the home daycare provider will inform them right away if there are any signs of illness and ask what actions they should take to treat the problem before the parent arrives and that T.L.C will be a huge part of the process. Home Daycares are open on all snow days and may only take off on major holidays, such as Christmas, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Fourth of July. The only problem with this is that there is no one else to provide for the children, so the center is closed. The public daycare would be closed as well, so most parents must either take off on these dates or find back up care in a family member or friend. At a public daycare there is a long line and system for pick up and drop off, however, home daycares allow parents to park on the curb, get in, and get out. With strict schedules, public facilities make parents pick up and drop off children at specific times, whereas a home daycare allows parents to pick up or drop off whenever convenient (within the hours they work). It is important to understand that when enrolling in a public center you let them take control over how your child is raised, whereas at a home daycare the parents are still the boss. This gives parents the opportunity to decide whether they feel more comfortable trusting in others to develop their children or feeling that they have the majority of the impact in their child’s development.

            When a parent has a child with special needs, it is necessary to find the facility that best support the child’s development. Some public daycares have teachers who have taken extensive studies into the mental or physical disorders that one may gain as a child; however, parents are looking for someone who has had plenty of experience with their child’s difficulties. If a child has ADHD, the parent would feel more secure with someone who would treat their child equal to the rest of the children, but still be able to handle that condition. Home daycare operators may have a child of their own that has that condition or may have taken several classes to understand all the symptoms of that condition. Although children with disorders need more attention, it is important that they feel equal to every other child. Positive effects come from treating the child equally, such as boosting their self-esteem and feeling self-worth. Children with disabilities also need consistency; therefore sending them to a home daycare gives them familiar surroundings and the same people on a daily basis.

             Another major concern for parents is, “Are there specific ages when I should decide that one alternative is better than the other?” In the beginning of a child’s development, ages two months to four years, being enrolled in a pre-kindergarten facility puts them in a stressful learning environment. Children are expected to listen intently, follow directions, and participate in what everyone else is doing (whether they want to or not). Is this reasonable for a young child? The majority would have to say not so much. At these ages, a child wants to enjoy their surroundings through interactive and imaginative playtime. When children are forced to sit at a table and write the alphabet, it takes away time to explore and stimulate their creativity. Creativity is a characteristic that is used on a daily basis, from what we choose to wear to the posters we design for class projects. Letting children figure out the activities that they enjoy builds character. Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts, educational specialist (Ed.S.), believe, “People who push computers and structured learning activities for young children simply don't understand that it is play that teaches kids the important things they need to know. This is how they discover that wood floats and coins sink as they play with these objects in a tub of water.” (1). It allows them to makes distinctions between the good and bad, which will later be used for moral judgments.  In a home daycare it is not necessary to keep the children all stuffed together in one area of a room. The children are encouraged to make their own decisions, choosing whether they want to watch television or build a bridge out of mega blocks. When a child is able to put themselves in realistic experiences, it better prepares them for their future. Children using the grass to prepare gourmet dishes, show a better understanding of how food is meant to please our appetite and stimulate their imagination, rather than the child who can look at a book and point out the differences between the fruits and vegetables. Beginning hands on experience at an early age allows children to broaden their motor skills and their understanding of a well balanced diet.

Many public daycares allow children to broaden their social development, through interactions with many children and teachers. They learn to be around all types of characters and adjust to their likes and dislikes. Children love to socialize, so when do they get the opportunity to create friendships? Although it is easier to play with students at a public daycare, it is not likely that the same children will see each other every day. In a home daycare, children get to play with the same children every day. Building an understanding of the other children’s interests and personality, it is easier for the children to create long lasting friendships. Mrs. Poelker provides an example of two four year old girls, one still attending her daycare and the other at preschool. “About two years ago these two little girls played together side by side, they were best friends. If one girl got in trouble for spitting, the other would do the same to be in timeout with their friend. About six months ago, one of the little girls was enlisted into preschool because her mother felt it was necessary to help her lack of speech. The other little girl asked about her friend everyday for about a month. Now when her preschool is closed, she comes to visit her best friend and they both act as though they had never parted. These two little girls have grown apart, but have a developed a friendship that is everlasting.” Being exposed to children of all ages is a benefit found in both the preschool and home settings. Toddlers begin to play with their peers, not realizing the distinctions in their interactions. In a public setting they are grouped by age that way they learn to build relationships with children their own age. They also do this because it groups the children by the level of skills, preparing the teachers for the tasks needed to advance them to the next stage. In the home daycares, however, children range from ages two months to five years old and advance to the next stage through their own natural development, versus being forced through it. They learn to interact with children at all ages, so that when they get into high school and their future career, they will be able to effectively communicate and sympathize with people of all ages. This type of environment “mirrors” (Miss Tara 1) most families, as many families consist of older and younger siblings.

 The development of a child, although complex and demanding, is guided by the environment they grow up in. Therefore, it is essential that a child receives the best quality care in the earliest form, rather than wait until they are about to begin kindergarten. Public facilities may provide the educational experience that will help children transition more easily into kindergarten; however, there is a lack of ability to provide individual attention to each child, to enhance their individual needs. Home daycares, although they may lack structure and education, leave children in an environment that is safe and welcoming. As a babysitter is limited to a smaller number of children, it is much easier to help each child fulfill individual needs. They are open to new ideas and activities, letting children stimulate their imagination. With fewer children there is less worry of germs and disease, which allows parents to sustain the stability of their jobs, as they don’t need to take off work and lose money as often. As the parents’ control how they wish their child to be taught, fed, and nurtured, they have no need to fear whether their children are developing as they wish. When a parent drops their child off for the day, they should feel relief, as their child is being protected in a safe and nurturing environment. For they have interviewed the sitter and are comfortable with the morals and values they will be teaching to their children. As for the ideal daycare, the home provides a nurturing and welcoming environment, where children will grow not only physically, emotionally, or socially, but as individuals with a solid moral foundation.






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