THE DAY CARE BOOK: A Guide for Working Parents to Help Them Find the Best Possible Day Care for Their Children by Grace Mitchell

THE DAY CARE BOOK: A Guide for Working Parents to Help Them Find the Best Possible Day Care for Their Children

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KIRKUS REVIEW

What to look for in day care facilities: a highly serviceable guide which outlines philosophical priorities, recognizes small signs of quality care, and cites cases from personal observation for further amplification. Although Mitchell, a 40-year veteran, concentrates on day care centers, she also considers other options (in-home help, unsupervised and supervised family day care) and writes from the conviction that day care, as the much-cited Kagan study suggests, can provide a child with the comforts of home. That criterion--a homelike atmosphere sustained by caring, consistent adults--is uppermost here: Mitchell finds it manifested in program plans and in less academic considerations--physical contact between adults and children, the smell of rooms, questions on admissions forms (about special fears, tensional outlets, allergies). She believes a sandbox and blocks basic, specifies desirable personality attributes for staff, and emphasizes the importance of ongoing obligations between parents and care-givers. Yet she defends a staff/child ratio of 1:10--even for toddlers--and insists even the youngest can be properly attended in groups for eight to ten hour stretches. Although her own experience has been largely among white middle-class New Englanders, her purview is broad and seems especially suited to those first confronting the dilemmas of day care. Less sophisticated than Galinsky and Hooks' The New Extended Family (1977) but using many of the same standards, it is aimed at parents who need to be told the meaning of ""ambivalence"" or how ""zoning"" teachers can improve transition times. A trustworthy discussion of day care practices and principles. (Mitchell, the publisher notes, is the mother of F. Lee Bailey.)

Pub Date: April 20th, 1979
Publisher: Stein & Day