Parents decisions regarding childcare: the Guam perspective

Cruz, Felicity M.F.
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
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What avenue do twenty-first century parents take to deal with the issue of childcare? This is the focus for this research in Guam. Since the advent of working mothers becoming the norm, with massive leaps in communication technology, and a changing American lifestyle, how have parents been reacting toward this important question concerning their children's care and educational needs? With the rise in need for childcare and the growing number and types of childcare available to families, how receptive have families been to the different childcare arrangements that are available to them? Because the issue of childcare is highly pertinent to daily life, many resources are currently available to parents. Resources include parent networks and resources on the web; numerous parent/family/child books; educational videos; special television show vignettes; radio talk shows; newspaper features; magazine articles; organized and active support groups; professionals, including early childhood educators, social workers and counselors; and the conventional informal networks of family, friends and coworkers. Where do parents choose to obtain their information? And with this deluge of information available to parents, how do they screen, discriminate and decipher the messages? What are the criteria that parents use when making the choice for childcare? Unfortunately, choosing childcare seems an arduous task for most parents. Since there are a myriad of factors involved with childcare that could frustrate, confuse or intimidate parents in their choice, it has been revealed that the most common parent strategy is focusing on personal preference and parental comfort when determining the appropriateness of a childcare environment (DeBord, 1995). In selecting care, parents look for values in the environment consistent with their own (1995). For practicality, 1 parents frequently resort to the simpler questions of: How much will the childcare service cost? Where is it located? Is there space available for my child? Is the childcare available at the times I need it? These criteria of preference, comfort, home and family likeness, cost, location, space availability and scheduling requirements complicate the decision making for childcare. In addition, other factors concerning quality, convenience, family pressures and learning expectations add more dimensions to the issue of childcare. Research (Early & Burchinal, 2001) shows that there is a common perception among parents that it is difficult to decide on good childcare, and this is due to parents' difficulty in accurately assessing the quality of a childcare setting, and in locating viable childcare. Many American families come out of this ordeal unscathed. Unfortunately, many more families constantly struggle and worry about their childcare decisions and the effects it has on their children. Is there a prescription for making decisions with childcare arrangements less daunting and more confident? A probe into this is my aim.
ix, 140 leaves
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Theses for the degree of Master of Education (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Educational Foundations; no. 515
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