Hmm, I never intended this to become a political blog. But I cannot pass by this battle of world views between the Conservatives and Liberals, since it is so relevant to this issue of raising children.
The Liberals are promising to pour $11 billion dollars into institutional child care, partly in response to the Conservative plan to enable parents to choose non-institutional child care options (for example, raising your own kids at home).
So, why am I so opposed to institutional child care? I do recognize that in some situations it may be a necessary evil. But I do believe that as Christian parents, we should be very hesitant to ever commit our kids to state-run preschools. (In fact, we should be hesitant to put them in state-run schools, but that is a topic for another post.)
State-run institutions do not teach a Christian world-view. In fact, they will actively exclude Christ. If you really believe that "the first five years last a lifetime," then surely this is not the place for our children.
Not only that, but there is considerable statistical evidence for the damaging effects of preschool. Here are extracts from several reports over the past few years:
LifeSite News, November 10, 2005:
Preschool Damages Children’s Social Skills and Emotional Development
Preschool has a negative effect on a child’s social and emotionaldevelopment, according to a study of 14,000 US preschool children.
On average, the report found that the earlier a child enters apreschool center, the slower his or her pace of social development.“Our results for the intensity of attending a center program – measuredin hours per week and months per year – are worrisome, while varyingacross different types of families and children,” the report stated.
News Release, National Institutes of Health (USA), July 16, 2003:
The more time children spent in child care from birth to age four-and-a-half, the more adults tended to rate them, both at age four-and-a-half and at kindergarten, as less likely to get along with others, as more assertive, as disobedient, and as aggressive, according to a study appearing in the July/August issue of Child Development.
The link between time in child care and problem behavior was greater than the link between infant temperament and problem behavior or maternal depression and problem behavior. This link between time in child care and problem behavior was also greater for children in center-based care than for children in other types of care.
The link between time in child care and problem behavior occurred across all family backgrounds and all types and quality of care.
CBC News, April 20, 2001:
A study presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development in Minneapolis found that 4 1/2-year-old children who attended day care were rated by mothers, care-givers and kindergarten teachers as more aggressive than kids who stayed at home.
Given all these negative results, why are the Liberals pushing so hard for increased institutional care? Even parents don't want it. According to this February 16, 2005 article from LifeSiteNews.com a recent poll by the Vanier Institute of the Family showed:
- Nine out of ten Canadians feel that in a two parent situation, ideally one parent should stay at home to raise the children
- almost all employed mothers would work part-time if they could afford it
- as would 84% of fathers
- parents surveyed indicated that daycare would be their last choice for child care
Parents, raise your children to honour God! Don't abdicate to the state the responsibility given to you by God. Instead, ask God for what you need to discharge this solemn (and joyful) task!