This is from a few years back but I just looked around and realized that it wasn’t on my blog! I’m not sure how that’s possible because it’s one of more favorite pieces of writing! Thankfully I kept a copy and here it is:
So tonight I attended another “train the trainer” session in my journey to be certified to teach child care workers about infant mental health issues. During the session, the issue of resistance came up. We humans don’t like change. Everyone has some part of them that resists change. We went around the table and everyone said what it was about this process that they might be resisting. I didn’t have the same issues as everyone else, but I definitely have issues, don’t we all?
Anyway, I’m not really that worried about doing a good job because for one, having five children and a stubborn father in law to take care of, I let go of perfectionism long ago! Besides that, I just have a high opinion of myself and know that I can do anything I set my mind to. I’m also not too worried about translating a more reflective style of teaching into the lingo of hard scientific facts. I’m an unschooler after all. I can turn spending a day of jumping on the trampoline into educationalize. Trust me. I’ll post a sample later. My resistance is more of a paradigm issue. See, in my oh so humble opinion fixing the daycare system is like fixing war. You can’t fix it, the whole thing is just wrong. In my perfect world we would just toss daycare out the window entirely and everyone would be paid a living wage so that two incomes were not required for mere survival. Seriously, a one wage family in the fifties had the same earning power as a two wage family in the nineties. How’s that work? Prices go up at a much faster rate than wages. I would go so far as to say public school is nothing more than free child care so that both parents can work. I think our culture, despite all noises to the contrary, is very anti child, anti woman and anti family. It is not normal or natural to leave your infant in the care of strangers. What other animal on this planet would do that? It goes against all survival instincts that the child has to be separated from it’s parent.
To top it all off these kids are being left in the care of workers paid minimum wage for the most part. Now, some long term workers have a true love for the children. Why else stay in it? But a lot of workers are there because they need little training and no education to do the job and it’s just a job to them. Being paid little and respected less, the stress of the job causes high turnover rates and low quality of care. Infants and toddlers, to whom proper attachment is paramount to survival and development, are constantly deprived of any consistency in their care. Recent studies show that children raised in daycare are more aggressive and have a harder time forming bonds than children who were not. The lack of proper training in daycare settings is staggering. Daycare policies often are contrary to best practices for healthy development of infants and children. Many workers WANT to do things differently but aren’t allowed. Many of the daycares that send their workers to trainings don’t attend themselves (owners, directors) so no real, sweeping change can be affected since those who hold the power aren’t learning the things that they really ought to know.
I know what I’m saying is politically incorrect and I don’t care because it is biologically correct, if we want to acknowledge that or not. I’m all for improving daycare because cognitively I know that what I want isn’t likely to happen. If only I were a billionaire who could endow grants to enable moms to stay at home. I know the economic realities of most families dictate many of their choices. But this is a failing of our community. This is a result of weakened family bonds and scattered families. When I was a child, if my mother had to work late, grandparents or an aunt or even a friend or neighbor stepped in.
We need to be supportive of stay at home parents and we need to emphasize real family values over material gain. Now, please don’t mistake me. I am by no means saying that women should not be allowed to work outside of the home. But I am saying that they should not be forced to by economic and societal pressures. That’s not a choice at all. Our senators children attend daycares with a ratio of about two kids per one adult. Wow! So why are our working families, the backbone of this country, having to settle for about one adult per 20 kids? Does anyone really think this is working? I have been criticized for having four children and asked how I can give them each individual attention and how I can possible home school three kids at one time? It makes me laugh. Really? In public schools there are about 25 kids per teacher and they want to know how I can possible handle three? Hmmmm.
I know all the arguments about “but MY daycare is a good one” and maybe it is. But I spend my work days going in and out of all of them and I see the differences in how things are done during drop off and pick up time as opposed to the big stretch of time when there are no parents watching. I’ve seen it.
Ive posted it before but it bears repeating: http://www.daycaresdontcare.org
I have so many things to say on this subject that I could fill up a hundred blogs but I guess what I need most now is to organize my thoughts so that I can articulate it in a way that will make sense to people and get them at least thinking. That would be a start.