A T H O L I C
F A M I L Y
SERVICE OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CATHOLIC FAMILIES
Myths on Pre-School
get us wrong. We are not against pre-school provision.
But we are against those who under-rate and undermine
the mothers who think it best to be at home with their
young children. We are also against social structures
that force mothers to be away from their children, but
that's another discussion!
facts below are from The Hidden Costs of Childcare
by Patricia Morgan, Family Education Trust, 77 Banbury
Road, Oxford OX2 7RA, UKP 2.50
: Pre-school education helps children socially
You often hear it said that it's better for young
children to socialise early rather than be 'stuck at
home' with the mother. But those who attended local
authority day nurseries (even when corrected for social
and family variables) were overwhelmingly: "prone
to antisocial and aggressive behaviour, were hyperactive
and unable to concentrate on school work, did not get
on with others at school, were clumsy and anxious"
: Pre-school provision does not upset the mother/child
At least 4 major studies show that children (especially
boys) become much less secure in their relationship
with their mothers. The security is very important.
Those with secure attachment histories are on average:
"more sociable, less withdrawn and hesitant, more
self-confident and more skilled in solving challenging
problems, seeking assistance and tolerating frustration".
Clearly it is better in general if the children are
at home with their mothers!
: Working mothers are happier, so their children are
and false! The myth assumes that mothers 'stuck
at home' are miserable because they lack the stimulus
of work. But there is abundant evidence that working
mothers (especially those with children in the pre-school
bracket) are more stressed and unhappy than those who
stay at home. The mother's stress can affect the child
directly, in addition to the other negative aspects
discussed above. There seem to be correlations between
an increase in the hours worked by mothers of young
children and a decrease of the IQ of those children.
surveys in the UK and France show that the vast majority
of mothers with young children (80% and 75% respectively)
would prefer to be at home. It is unfortunate that modern
financial pressures (often the side-effects of well-intentioned
policies on lone-parents [see the relevant myths] )
are forcing more and more mothers to do what their instincts,
and the research, show to be damaging to them and their
: The best thing would be for governments to provide
quality pre-school care for all those who want it
There are many wonderful pre-school providers; dedicated
people, devoted to children in their care, well resourced,
with high staff to children ratio. But there are many,
many more facilities where this high level is not, and
cannot be attained. It would require a totally unrealistic
level of resources to bring pre-school provision even
to a level where there was little harm to the children.
is a far simpler way of providing quality pre-school
care. Make it financially viable, for those mothers
who want to, to stay at home with their small children.
This would be the most sensible use of government resources.
The main barrier to such a sensible solution lies in
the myths above. Until those myths disappear, such a
sensible solution will not appear on governmental agendas.
always encourage response to our articles on modern
myths. We would be especially interested in any US data
relevant to the topic. Feel free to Send your views
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US, Father a spirit of wisdom and
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