ERIC Number: ED313160
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Nov
American Child Care: Lessons from the First 100 Years.
Anderson, Susan D.
Child care has been part of American culture for nearly a century. This paper takes a backward glance at the history of child care in the United States. During the industrial revolution, child care was disguised as child labor. As child labor laws were enacted, schooling became the focus of ideas about caring for groups of children. The idea of a child-centered family was at its peak when World War II began to affect daily life in America. A nationwide network of child care centers at major war production facilities was established. American child care then began to ride an ideological pendulum that would swing in wide arcs with each new generation of parents. In the peacetime economy that followed the war, the pendulum swung, knocking group child care into obscurity. In the post-war division of labor, mothers had to raise children in isolation. Child care was reduced to babysitting. Then middle America slowly rediscovered nursery schools. In the late 1960s, organized child care was reborn in an effort to meet the needs of the numerous newly divorced, working mothers. This phenomenon spread through all social classes in the 1970s. Shortcomings of current forms of child care are considered. Also considered are the origins of the national appetite for additional child care services. Recommendations for an American model of child care are offered. (RH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (Atlanta, GA, November 3-6, 1989).