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1. Content Analysis: Day CareTwo articles on day care are provided for this content analysis. By identifying thepositive and negative comments we will attempt to identify…
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  • 1. Content Analysis: Day CareTwo articles on day care are provided for this content analysis. By identifying thepositive and negative comments we will attempt to identify the points both in favourand against it. This kind of analysis is useful in enabling us to identify attitude,opinions and the evidence upon which they are based.For this content analysis on day care we will ‘chunk down’ to two basicclassifications for our entries, positive and negative comments. For each article wewill enter both positive and negative comments in the following table:PositiveCommentsNegativeCommentsEvaluationAfter we have listed both the positive and the negative comments for each article wewill undertake an evaluation.I . Compare the positive and negative comments, is there any agreement between thearticles ?II. Is there any disagreement ?III. To what extent do the articles support each other on the value of day care ?IV. How reliable do you think the information in each article is ?V. A conclusion linking both articles together for their belief in the value, or not, ofday care.
  • 2. Article 1.The kids are all right in daycareStudies have investigated links between children who go to daycare and their cortisol levels.Photograph: GettyDoctor Aric Sigman has made the headlines with a recent article in the Biologist entitled,Mother superior: the biological effects of daycare. Sigman drew attention to researchshowing that levels of cortisol, a hormone that is released in response to stress, increasesduring the day in children who attend daycare. He linked this observation a range of studiesshowing detrimental effects of cortisol on mental and physical health, with a particularemphasis on brain function. The Daily Mail reported his conclusions thus: "Sending babiesand toddlers to daycare could do untold damage to the development of their brains and theirfuture health."Before parents and policy-makers act on this information, they have to ask themselves severalquestions. First, who is Aric Sigman and what are his credentials? Second, have his viewsbeen accurately represented? Third, has he accurately represented the scientific research onthis topic?On the first point, Googling reveals that Sigman has a track record of drawing attention to arange of dangers facing our children, including the internet, indulgent parents and television.He does not appear to have an academic affiliation and there is no CV on his website. Tolook at his research track record, I tried Web of Knowledge, a database that lists publicationsin the peer-reviewed literature. This drew a blank: just a couple of conference abstracts onhypnotism dating back to the 1980s. His reputation is not helped by the fact that he lists
  • 3. himself as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. Quite simply, this sounds like anhonour, but it isnt: its a title available to those with a doctorate who pay an annual fee.Were Sigmans views accurately represented by the media? A day before his paper came outhe posted a pre-emptive statement, noting that his emphasis on negative consequences was toredress a balance that had slipped too far in the direction of regarding daycare as an acceptedhealthy practice. The potential damage, he maintained, meant that academics who reliedexclusively on evidence-based judgments were dangerous. Indeed, "it should be incumbenton those with an open mind on this matter to provide overwhelming evidence that paiddaycare workers can elicit the same intimate and often unique interactions that occur betweenmothers and babies". It would seem, then, that there are grounds for the media to portray himas someone who argues that daycare poses a risk to childrens health. His comments about thepotential long-term damage to health are similar to his earlier statements about television andthe internet.We abandon evidence at our peril. The world is full of potential threats and dangers, and itsnot always easy to anticipate what new developments are going to be beneficial, harmful orneutral. In the debate around daycare, cortisol and brain function, there are a few facts thatnearly everyone would agree on. Yes, there is an increase in cortisol during the day amongchildren attending daycare. And yes, unremitting long-term increases in cortisol, as aresometimes found in depressed adults, are detrimental to health. But there are other findings.One study of primates reported that increased cortisol that was caused by episodes ofseparation of an infant monkey from its mother was associated with better outcomes in termsof brain function. Studies of animals and humans suggest that in some settings experiences ofmoderate stress can be adaptive and enhance resilience. Yet, as I note on my blog, Sigmanignores or selectively reports evidence for this more nuanced position. He justifies his one-sided approach to the evidence on the basis that "while open-mindedness has its place inacademia, it is a luxury children cant afford".I disagree: what we cant afford is a presumption that we know all the answers, and it iswrong to selectively present the evidence to suit a preferred position, however wellintentioned.
  • 4. Article 2."Does day care damage your On the first day, when I dropped him off, baby Raymond screamed hisbaby? One mothers view..." byLucy Cavendish, The Daily head off. “Oh, don’t worry,” said Gemma, taking him from me, “he’ll getTelegraph (Britain), 13-Sep- used to it.” Except he didn’t. Every time I dropped him off, he would2011 pummel his little feet against me and cling and scream. As Gemma took him, he would give me such a desperately panicked look, it would make me want to turn around and spirit the two of us back home again. “Is this normal?” I asked. “Oh, yes,” said Gemma, firmly prising Raymond from my grasp. “He’ll adjust. They all do.” By the fourth week, he had adjusted somewhat, so I convinced myself that Raymond was enjoying nursery. Still, I had misgivings. I felt guilty that he wasn’t getting the one-to-one attention I felt he deserved. I was concerned about the regulation cots lined up against the wall, but reasoned it was the best option I had. After all, thousands of women drop their babies and pre-schoolers off at nurseries every day. How bad could it be? Then, one day, I went to pick Raymond up early. I turned up at the nursery and, looking through the window, saw Raymond standing in his cot, absolutely sobbing. His face had gone red. I waited for someone to go and comfort him, but no one moved a muscle. All the staff were in the corner taking no notice. He wasn’t the only baby crying. Four more were bellowing their heads off. I stormed into the room, picked Raymond up and asked Gemma what on earth she and her staff thought they were doing. “It’s their quiet time,” she explained. “We don’t pick them up during quiet time.” “He was crying,” I said. “He needs cuddling.” She said that the nursery had rules and regulations. “I’m sorry,” she said, “but that’s how we get the children to adjust.” This is the problem with nursery care; one size has to fit all. Staff have to stick to a routine in order to survive day-in, day-out with a rotating set of children. The trouble is, children don’t work this way. They are all different, with their different characteristics and needs. What I witnessed is something I have heard from other parents time and time again. Essentially, many feel let down by the quality of care and the lack of real affection shown to their children by day-care staff.
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