Child care vs. Day care, Raising the bar for Early Childhood Professionals

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Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to provide educational programming for childcare providers who are seeking professional development to enhance the quality of care and education they are offering young children. In my interaction with providers, the term day care and child care have been used interchangeably. A colleague of mine brought it to my attention that there has been research on the use of these terms and the level of quality of care associated with their use.

An article published in the Huffington Post examined Day Care Disrespect and how what we call child care does make a difference. According to Katherine Rose, Associate Professor in Early Child Development and Education at Texas Woman’s University, the term day care as opposed to preschool or child care is many times associated with negative views envisioned as unstimulating, uninviting and in general, low quality care. Rose states, “The term day care prioritizes the “day” over the “care” — and days don’t need any care.”

A child care provider’s role is vital in the successful development of children in all domains including physical, cognitive, social, and emotional growth. In high quality environments child care professionals are key in setting the foundations that lead to continued progress in school, increased future incomes, reducing anti-social behaviors and less trouble with the law.

Young children today are spending a good majority of their time with child care providers in family childcare homes and childcare centers, if parents are working full time, it equals more than 40 hours per week in time spend in child care. The child care professionals who are dedicating their time to continuing education to include best practices in early care and education are also building quality relationships with the children and families in their care.

So what’s in a name? Words Matter The title of Child Care Professional should be the new language we use if it is quality care we are giving or are expected to get.

Lynn DeVries, Extension Educator | The Learning Child

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