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ERIC Number: ED522741
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Apr
Pages: 76
Abstractor: ERIC
ISBN: ISBN-978-9-0619-5102-5
ISSN: ISSN-1383-7907
Early Childhood in the Caribbean. Working Papers in Early Childhood Development, No. 47
Barrow, Christine
Bernard van Leer Foundation (NJ1)
This report looks at the development and socialisation of children under 5 years of age in two Caribbean countries, Trinidad and Tobago and Dominica. It involved fieldwork in four very different communities as well as extensive discussion with academics and professionals. Too little is known about child socialisation in the Caribbean, and this research, the authors believe, breaks new ground. It shows that although most children are loved and cared for, the lives of many are scarred by poverty. The two countries the authors worked in are by no means the poorest in the developing world. But they both have substantial poor populations. Poor families are offered only the most basic help by the state. Child-rearing in the communities they studied remains highly traditional. Corporal punishment is common and children are often ignored, shouted at or belittled. Both countries have signed up to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and their laws and policies pay attention to it. But the day-to-day lives of children have changed little. This applies particularly to children living in poverty, with a disability or with some other form of disadvantage. But the picture is not one of unrelieved gloom. Child-rearing in the region does seem to be getting less regimented and more caring, and there is a growing realisation that the first few years of a child's life are vital to his or her social as well as intellectual and physical development. However, many of the people they met said that Caribbean communities are less supportive than in the past. This means that children are cared for increasingly by their mothers. Despite stereotypes of extended Caribbean families, many mothers are not involved in a wide network of female support. The feeling is that families are drawing in on themselves because of cultural change, including more television watching, and the fear of crime, especially from gangs of drug-fuelled young men. A bibliography is included. (Contains 1 footnote.) [This paper was written with Martin Ince.
Bernard van Leer Foundation. P.O. Box 82334, 2508 EH, The Hague, The Netherlands. Tel: +31-70-331-2232; Fax: +31-70-350-2373; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Bernard Van Leer Foundation (Netherlands)
Identifiers - Location: Dominica; Trinidad and Tobago