Child Care Today: Getting it Right for Everyone

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Alfred A. Knopf, 2009 - Family & Relationships - 350 pages
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From the universally admired author of the best-selling classicYourBaby and Child,the first comprehensive—and objective—book on the state of child care in America and the world today. Who is caring for today’s children? How well are they succeeding? What does care cost, and who is paying for it? How do parents go about choosing care for their children, and are they satisfied with what they find? Penelope Leach answers these and other urgent questions with facts and figures gathered from the most current research, brought to life by the voices of parents, including those involved in her own five-year study.

Leach sees “work-home balance” as being the major conundrum of the day. She delineates the challenge of fitting children’s unchanged needs into society’s changing demands and the dilemma of today’s parents needing to be in two places at once. She describes in detail the various ways Western countries address that challenge: care given by parents, extended family, and nonfamily; care provided in the child’s home, in other homes, and in professional settings; child care funded by paying parents or by the government. Considering the issues from the various viewpoints of politicians, policy makers, professionals, parents, and children themselves, the author discusses the impact of each kind of care on children of different ages.

Leach highlights the urgent need in America today for measures to raise the quality of child care, and to make the best care we can provide available to all families, just as it is (often by government mandate) in most other developed nations. Setting out clearly and candidly what is known about every aspect of child careincluding the often hidden feelings and fears of parentsPenelope Leach presents a critical case for building and implementing an agenda for change.

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Child Care Today: Getting It Right for Everyone

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Verdict: Leach movingly argues that it is "because we haven't abandoned the attitudes of 1959 that we are finding it so difficult to move forward in 2009." Unparalleled in its comprehensiveness, this ... Read full review

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About the author (2009)

\Penelope Leach was educated at Cambridge University and at the London School of Economics, where she received her Ph.D. in psychology, after which she studied many aspects of child development and child rearing under the auspices of Britain’s Medical Research Council. A Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a founding member of the U.K. branch of the World Association for Infant Mental Health, she works on both sides of the Atlantic in various capacities for organizations concerned with prenatal care and birth, family-friendly working practices, day care, and early years education. She has recently co-directed a major program of research in the United Kingdom into the effects of various forms and combinations of care on children’s development from birth to school age. Penelope Leach has two children and six grandchildren and lives in Lewes, England.

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