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Oliver James - childcare under 3 is bad

46 replies

oliveoil1 · 02/06/2010 16:14

Did anyone listen to Oliver James interview on Womans hour on the 27th May, a chid psychologist discussed childcare being damaging for under 3's. Its left me reeling, I'm so tired of feeling guilty, always asking myself if I'm doing enough, doing it well enough etc. I love being with my son 1 year, he is incredible, the most beautiful thing in the world to me - of course! when I am with him we are creative, on the beach, always learning and laughing, with other children, at play groups etc - but I also need and want to work, I am an artist and lecturer, I am lucky that I can work (teach) only 3 days a week for 24 weeks, then (art work) for 2 days a week for the rest of the year. I feel this is balanced and healthy, and I am happy with it, when I am with my son I give him 100% of my attention, love and support. If I gave up my work for 3 years I would have nothing to go back to, I can't and don't want to give it all up,and bottom line we can't afford for me to give it all up. I love my mum because she's interesting and inspiring and a feminist as am I. Why can't mum's be celebrated for being rounded human beings. Oliver James seems to be taking us back to Pre - feminism.

OP posts:
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LynetteScavo · 13/06/2010 21:51

Alison, I totally agree with you.

When looking for childcare for my own child, who had just turned two, however, I opted for a very small nursery, with 12 children and 4 excellent members of staff, combined with grandparent care.

Sadly the nursery expanded, and with more children and staff lost somewhat off the family atmosphere. If DD hasn't been about to start school I would have seriously considered trying to find a childminder for her.

If nurseries are not the best places for children, but so many parents want and need to use them, then maybe we should be looking at improving nursery care for under 3's? But obviously that wouldn't be cheap.

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Al1son · 13/06/2010 23:16

Ok Blueshoes,

Perhaps when you've got over ten years experience in Early Years and a degree in Early Years Care and Education under your belt we could discuss this further?

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Bonsoir · 13/06/2010 23:22

blueshoes by her own admission is not maternal. I think it is quite understandable that a non-maternal woman would like to believe that nursery care is a great alternative to maternal care - it lets her off the hook entirely.

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clemettethecoalitionbreaker · 13/06/2010 23:26

I think nursery care is a great alternative to the care that I could provide (me personally that is, knowing my shortcomings). I don't feel I need to be let off any hook.
I know that DD hated going to the childminders when she started school. She was much happier when we got her a place at breakfast/afterschool club with lots of children and the rough and tumble. Whether this is a consequence of her early life at nursery doesn't really matter, she is happy.

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Al1son · 13/06/2010 23:43

Lynnette I think you're right.

I love the idea of nurseries like those in Sweden who have one consistent practitioner and a small group of children of mixed ages in each room. It is like a small family, siblings stay together, no transitions between rooms, long term relationships with parents. This seems to me to be the type of group childcare which give small children the safe, secure, nurturing environment they need. This could be better than a childminder too because when other people need to cover they are familiar and the child can stay in the same room with the same children which causes them less disruption.

It would be interesting to hear what Oliver James thinks about this type of setting.

Childcare for young babies could be improved if nursery practitioners had a better understanding of attachment theory and used keyworker systems to build very close relationships with children. Unfortunately, in reality these keyworker relationships are often not managed in this way because of logistics and costs and a child's keyworker is just the person who does the paperwork about them. This is an opinion but it is shared by a friend who teaches early years at uni and has a Phd in psychology.

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blueshoes · 14/06/2010 19:57

Alison, I am afraid you have completely missed the point.

Your supposed "ten years experience in Early Years and a degree in Early Years Care and Education" does not give you any understanding close to mine of my children and how they are settling in childcare. I would hardly bother to discuss my dcs with you either. Hence my reference to 'personal reasons'.

It is the case with all working mothers that their choice must depend on the quality of the specific childcare they are using, their dcs' personality and their specific circumstances. Hence, angst-ing about generalities is interesting, but serves very little purpose.

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noddyholder · 14/06/2010 20:00

I agree with him and would raise it to 5/6 tbh.Don't know why this always has to descend into a big barney on here It is an opinion everyone has one!I don't think I have over analysed it I just agree with him its a natural rsponse.

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AnnieLobeseder · 14/06/2010 20:05

Oh FGS, if not being doted on 24/7 is sooooooooooooooooooooooo terrible for young children, then how come the human race didn't die out thousands of years ago?

Parents devoting their every waking hour to their precious bundles is a very new invention, and not a good one in my opinion. Children these days have no idea how to entertain or look after themselves, and are convinced the world owes them everything, immediately, for free.

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!

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noddyholder · 14/06/2010 20:11

Doted on 24/7 My ds wasn't and is certainly more than capable now at 16.It is a personal choice like food sleep education etc

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blueshoes · 14/06/2010 21:38

blueshoes does not need to be let off the hook anymore than a maternal goddess like bonsoir needs to convince herself she is indispensable to her dd

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Bonsoir · 15/06/2010 08:58

But blueshoes - that's the whole point - I don't claim to be an indispensable maternal goddess .

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blueshoes · 15/06/2010 12:30

And vice versa, bonsoir

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ProfessorLaytonIsMyLoveSlave · 15/06/2010 13:04

One thing that tends not to be mentioned in the coverage of this issue is the size of the effect shown in research studies. An effect can be small very, very small but still be statistically significant. If the size of the effect isn't reported then there's virtually no way to use it as a basis for making decisions about childcare or childrearing.

Say, for the sake of argument, that "children in full time nursery care are more aggressive" is a statistically significant result borne out by research. That could mean "on average a child in full time nursery care will display aggressive behaviour once more in any given year than a child in full time home care" or "on average a child in full time nursery care will display aggressive behaviour five times more in any given day than a child in full time home care". If you want to use the research to inform your parenting choices then it's of vital importance that you understand which (or where on the continuum between the two) it is.

So far as I am aware studies have generally shown very small, although statistically significant, effects correlated to high quality childcare. So I'm not going to worry that I've blighted my children's lives or turned them into ungovernable monsters. They aren't obviously aggressive (looking at, say, DS's school contemporaries, most of whom were not in full time childcare and many of whom have noticeably more aggression issues) so if they are a scintilla more aggressive than they would have been without childcare I don't think that's a big problem. I am sure there are other things I'm doing wrong that are far more significant and a far more productive use of my time fretting about.

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Al1son · 16/06/2010 10:26

That's a good point. Although I guess that different parents would place varying degrees of significance on different effects. It depends to some extent on your own ethos and parenting style and how much the effect clashes with it.

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sayhellotoholly · 16/06/2010 11:04

For what it's worth, I've been shadowing a family support team for the past six months and time and time again I was told (by two child psychologists) that small children and even babies benefit hugely from a nursery/group setting and are far more advanced in their social and practical skills when starting school compared to children who have predominately been brought up in a full-time home setting.

That said, it's really sad that once again the whole stay at home vs child care issue seems to bring out the worst in mothers.

Basically you're doomed if you stay at home and doomed if you go to work. Neither route is superior to the other.

My mum stayed at home with me but had a fabulous career when I started school and as such I'm a big believer in working mothers but since having my DS I've seen this whole debate come up time and time again and quite frankly I'm sick of this holier than thou attitude spewed out by SAHMs that you're damaging your kids if you go to work.

Sure Emily Pankhurst et al would be really proud to see that the 'sisterhood' hasn't advanced much in the last 100 years and in actual fact seem to have regressed.

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Whelk · 17/06/2010 12:10

While I agree with Oliver James to some extent, I do think its interesting that no-one would ever make an assessment on the quality of the home experience.

I agonise almost daily with the guilt of my dds being in nursery but do find myself laughing with irony when they are at home with me following me and the hoover around and I'm short with them!

I'm not sure which is considered to be more beneficial for my dds but I know which is more fun for them!!

Who are these lucky folk with perfect grandparents to look after their dcs? I would have huge reservations about leaving my dds with fairly aged grandparents, not just for the dcs but for the grandparents. I think they deserve a retirement!

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Bonsoir · 17/06/2010 12:18

sayhellotoholly - I think it is reasonable to say that children who have spent a lot of time in nurseries in the early years may have different skills to children who have spent nearly all their time with a parent, but I really do not think that any study concludes that children who spend time in nursery are more advanced than those who have been at home, apart from when the homes in question are very underprivileged.

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Al1son · 17/06/2010 12:35

I think that the sisterhood is safe and Emmeline Pankhurst can rest easily in her grave. If you read back through the thread the majority of posts talk about parents rather than mums. I think most people are aware that the care of a loving Dad is just as beneficial as the care of a loving Mum.

I'm not sure what language Mr OJ used but as mumsnetters I think we're well and truly in the 21st century.

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clemettethecoalitionbreaker · 17/06/2010 14:59

Meandering OT slightly, but Emmeline Pankhurst was a notoriously appalling and abusive mother. She forced one of her daughters to emigrate to Australia, and sacked one from the suffragette movement when said daughter (Sylvia) questionned favoured daughter (Christabel).

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Al1son · 17/06/2010 23:23

Crikey! I'll have to look her up now! I think she just went down in my estimation rather :-(

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clemettethecoalitionbreaker · 18/06/2010 17:15

Everyone talks about Emmeline, but it was Sylvia who was the real heroine. Emmeline and Christabel wanted to give the vote to middle class women only and kicked Sylvia out of the movement for campiagning for the working class vote...

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