This paper will examine how parental involvement in child care (PICC) improves the quality of child care. It presents information using three measures including the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Parent Caregiver Relationship Scale (PCRS), and National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY). Across all these measures, parental involvement improves child care by creating a good interpersonal bond between the providers and parents. It also increases parents’ participation in child care activities.
Keywords: Child care; Parent involvement
Definition of keywords
Child care/day care: Care offered to children on a daily basis by another different person who is not the child’s legal parent/guardian or immediate family member.
Parental involvement: Participation of parents in matters related to child care..
Currently, most of the children are taken care of outside their home environment. Children’s day care centers are at the center stage in providing child care. This has been attributed to the fact that parents, especially the single parents are tied in employment. This limits the available time for parental involvement in child care (PICC). In this respect, the notion about parents’ involvement in child care has gained considerable ground. Nevertheless, only little information has been collected relating to this phenomenon. There are various reasons for involving parents in child care. The most significant reason relates to the parent’s education. First and foremost, caregivers cannot agree to work for long hours with little pay. This limits the care provider’s responsibility to the general child care. This is in regard to feeding and changing the clothing of the children. Secondly, care providers may lack the necessary knowledge regarding child development. Therefore, parents may not be satisfied with the quality of care. However, this may be solved with the parent’s involvement in child care regardless whether it is a home-based or center-based care. How will child development improve when parents and care providers combine efforts in child care? Apart from this, other questions on PICC both in a home or center setup remain unanswered. This paper will aspire to measure and conceptualize improvements of child care through parental involvement.
Research concerning PICC has been carried. However, it has concentrated on the parent’s attributes like commitment and availability among others and how they affect their involvement in child care. This research intends to narrow this gap on parent involvement by looking at the effects it has on child care improvement. Parental involvement improves child care.
Significance of this research
This research is necessary and important as it will provide parents with an insight on the impact of PICC. In return, they will be enlightened on how best to involve themselves in their child care despite their many commitments.
The research will be carried out on care providers, parents, or both in child care programs based on home and day center setups respectively. A questionnaire with questions measuring the level of involvement of parents will be used in the research. In addition, the research will adopt the deductive strategy. This implies that the research questions will be developed in relation to the literature provided.
PICC outside home
Research has proved that the initial stages of a child’s life are significant and critical in the development of the child’s future life. Notably, the largest part of this stage occurs in the absence of the child’s legal parents/guardians. In this regard, there has been complaints about the role of parents in child development during these crucial stages. However, the idea about PICC has been overshadowed by undifferentiated concepts including variations in parent behaviors. There are few efforts towards the evaluation of PICC as an extraordinary issue that is not dependent on parental attributes like parental education, commitment, and social skills. Nowadays, child care away from home environment is the most preferred. This is due to one main factor, finances. It is economical to have a child taken care of in a day care center than in a home setup. Only a few things are required including the child’s clothing’s and food. However, some of the facilities may offer additional services like education and child development. In most cases, these additional services are optional.
On the other hand, child care based on a home environment (family child care) is not expensive but has a high risk due to security threats. Apart from this shortcoming, it has considerable benefits than a day care center. Children receive care based on a home situation. Usually, it is a home away from home. Most often, the environment is similar to that of their real home with a kitchen, living room, and playground amongst others. Moreover, most of the activities are conducted in a family set up. In addition, child-to-care provider ratio is small standing at 6: 1 or less unlike in day care centers where sometimes they are overcrowded. Therefore, each child is awarded maximum attention and child turnover is minimized. In turn, child development is favored since the child undergoes all the initial stages without interference. Furthermore, the care provider can instill discipline, and this is highly influenced by the home environment. Overcrowding of children may hinder effective provision of child care and worst of all propagate infection of diseases.
Another benefit of home based child care is that it is convenient. Furthermore, home based care is best suited for infant care. With respect to experience and training, home-based care providers are acquainted with child care knowledge and have met the state requirements especially for safety. Finally, home based child care providers have a strong connection with various institutions that offer support and training. This enables them to counter and overcome unlikely events that might occur like diseases. Children are prone to diseases due to their weak immune system. On the contrary, PICC is more evident in center based care rather than in the home based child care. The care providers and parents get acquainted with one another thereby developing a strong bond in raising the child. Issues related to the children like food choices, behaviors, socialization, and early education are put into consideration through a mutual agreement.
Parental involvement in child care
From ancient times, familial care has been the primary form of child care in the society, with the mother as the main caregiver. In instances where the mother is held up or not present, other members of the extended family like the grandparents, aunts, and uncles took control. They would assist in caring for the child freely or charging less. Today, this has been impossible due to commitments involving work and learning. In addition, their working schedules have become very rigid forcing many working mothers to have limited time with their children even at child care centers. Most notably, parents rush to get to work, and have little or no time to interact with caregivers about the standards and nature of care for their children. On the other hand, day care centers close at specified times. This also forces parents to rush in order to get their kids before the centers are closed. With center based child care, parent involvement is required. In this case, the care provider is handling the kid from a totally different environment that may influence them differently. Besides, care providers may forget the requirements of each and every child they are handling. Thus, parent intervention will help to highlight such issues and ensure they are handled in the right manner.
Several attempts will be employed to measure and conceptualize PICC in order to develop a comprehensive measure regarding quality of child care. This will include the child care environment, care provider’s credentials, and children-to-care providers’ ratios. In developing the PICC measures, it is crucial to distinguish between the efforts of the provider and how PICC occurs. This will help to evaluate the time and frequency of PICC activities like visits and conversation with their care providers concerning the progress of their children. For example, parents of young children concentrate on the basic biological factors such as eating and sleeping. Notably, a child’s life changes very rapidly during the early years of development. Another measure to consider in PICC is what is expected of care providers.
The above literature concentrates on the criteria exploring the relationship between parent involvement and improvement of child care. The basis of this research is a unique dimension. Identification of the research problem was the foremost thing and evaluating it provided the connection between parent involvement and its impact in improving child care.
As already mentioned, this research will be conducted using a survey design for parents, care providers, or both using the home based and center based scenarios. Additionally, a questionnaire with questions measuring the level of involvement of parents will be used. Furthermore, the research will adopt a deductive strategy. Three different measures of PICC will be used: NAEYC, PCRS, and NLSY. Research about the correlation of parent involvement and child care improvement has persisted for long. Over the years, it has been held that parent involvement is instrumental in the child care improvement.
This research is based on child care settings in Colorado.
The participants of this research will be sampled from child care settings with authorization from state child care regulators. The criteria to be used in choosing participants are: they must be parents with children in child care centers; child care providers; be of any nationality, ethnic or racial groupings; be either male or female, and be willing and ready to participate in the research.
Data collection was conducted through self-administration of questionnaires based on the four PICC measures. Questionnaires were adopted to achieve a high response rate from the respondents, as well as enhance reliability and validity of the data gathered. Therefore, the researcher will have to be present for awareness and clarification purposes. Apart from this, questionnaires can be used to reach various people at different times. They can also be used in different environments and can as well target analysis of numerous sub-topics of the main topic in different dimensions. Furthermore, they are cheap and easy to construct in terms of materials resources and time. Lastly, the use of questionnaires is the best suited method for both quantitative and qualitative data
Results and Interpretations
The descriptive results of this research will use the following four measures of PICC.
NAEYC PICC measure
The questionnaire was presented in two parts: the first part contained 28 questions describing various ways in which providers engage parents, and the second part presented questions about the validity of part one scores. The first part concentrated on the care provider policies that affect parents. This includes communication policies that provide parents with information regarding their children like health issues, payment, and refund policies amongst others. Parents were required to tick ‘Yes’ ‘No,’ or ‘Don’t Know’ for each question. In this regards, 292 parents from16 child care centers responded to the survey. Care providers were described positively by almost all the parents hence the score for those who responded ‘Yes’ was above 90%. Good care providers enhance parent involvement in child care.
This measure mainly overlooked the interpersonal relationship between the parent and caregiver. It consisted of questions concerning parents/providers’ perception of their relationship with one another based on three aspects collaboration, respect, and affiliation. The responses to these questions were based on a 5 point scale ranging between strongly agree and strongly disagree. Most parents/providers’ responses favored the strongly agree scale since their relationship was good. Thus, a significant number of parents were involved in the child care, and their relationship with care providers improved.
This concentrated on the contact between parents and providers based parents’ participation in child care activities. A survey was conducted for six months. Results showed that many center-based parents were more involved in child care activities than home-based parents. In regard to contact, home-care based parents contacted their childcare provider about the children’s welfare than their counterparts. The same was noted for providers in home based care. However, this limited physical involvement of home care parents.
The results from this research strongly indicated that parental involvement in child care is important in the improvement of child development. The results are also in agreement with the reviewed research literature.
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