Prior to the 1900's,
day cares were charitable organizations
only, and "would not accept children of mothers who worked for any
reason but dire financial necessity".1
"In the words of
social historian Margaret Steinfels, 'day care was not a service for the
Even as late as 1963, "The
Children's Bureau found that 'the child who needs day care has a family
organizations, variously known as day nurseries, infant schools, or
créches were the
precursors to modern daycare as we
know it today.
|The roots of
institutionalized daycare for the non-destitute were in the discredited
Systems of the late 1800's and early 1900’s.
In the U.S., it appeared in the communistic Oneida Society of
Perfectionists in upstate New York in 18484,
who were also notorious for their belief in free love (A.K.A. "complex
marriage") and eugenics (A.K.A. "stirpiculture")
Large scale institutionalized daycare was used in the former
Soviet Union and also in the early
kibbutzim (collective Jewish pioneering settlements in Palestine -- modern-day Israel).
The Great Depression forced a temporary
revision in attitude toward daycare in the United States.
Day care in the
United States became legitimized during
World War II, because mothers were encouraged to work in the factories
for the war effort. Additionally, day cares began to associate
themselves with schools to disguise their unsavory reputation as daytime
In the years following WWII until the
present, the day care industry gained greater
acceptance by further
associating itself with education. At the same time, the US government
unintentionally legitimized day care by providing childcare programs to
compel welfare mothers to work to get off public assistance.
"The use of daycare has
increased at a frightening rate. (It's hard to imagine, but
only) as recently as the mid 1960's,...most states
(in the USA) with
legislation regulating day care refused even to license
(daycare) facilities for
children under 3 years old5."
About the same time frame, the General Assembly of the United Nations
proclaimed, "...a child of tender years shall not, save in exceptional
circumstances, be separated from his mother."
The noun, "Day Care", didn't even appear in
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, until 1993 (the Tenth Edition)!
A Mothers' Job: The History of Daycare, 1890-1960 by Elizabeth Rose,
Oxford University Press, Inc., 1999, page
2 Day Care Deception - What the Child Care
Establishment isn't telling us by Brian C. Robertson,
©2003 Encounter Books, page 153
Who's Minding the Children by Margaret O'Brien Steinfels,
©1973, page 72
4 Minding the Children: Childcare in America from
Colonial Times to the Present by Geraldine Youcha,
5 What's wrong with Day Care: Freeing Parents to Raise
Their own children by Charles Siegel,
6 Principle 6 of the Declaration of the Rights of the
Child, Proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly resolution
1386(XIV) of 20 November 1959