Reported today in the Times Online, The Millenium Cohort Study says that … children looked after by grandparents while their mothers are at work would be better off in nurseries or with childminders. It discovered that children in the care of grandparents struggled to socialise with their peers by the age of 3, had significantly more behavioural problems and were behind at key developmental stages compared with those in nurseries, with nannies, childminders or even other family members. The only clear benefit was their good vocabulary.
The study is in direct conflict with the information from the Children’s Society in their ‘The Good Childhood’ enquiry … that called for grandparents to do more caring to stop so many children going to nurseries.
For me this is not about grandparents it is about early institutionalisation. The Millennium Cohort Study simply reports on what it has found but underlying this is the idea that early childhood is a preparation for school and that childhood, in the sense I mean it, has no place. Why, when many countries don’t begin formal education until children become 7 years old, must we continue down this ‘preporarity’ pathway. When children began their formal education in the term before/after they had become five that was the moment that they began to develop in an institutional context. We have simply brought this earlier and earlier. Why ? Is it necessary? NO !!