A study of preschool child care in middletown USA
The purposes of the study were to determine who was taking care of three- and four-year-old children in Middletown USA, and to attempt to identify why parents of these children chose particular types of child care. A further purpose of the study was to supply data relative to the Muncie, Indiana, community which were not gathered in the Middletown studies. The sample consisted of 153 parents of three- and four-year-old children who lived on randomly selected city blocks in Muncie, Indiana.An informal questionnaire was constructed in order to gather information needed to test the null hypotheses and to obtain data relative to the community. Informal interviews were conducted at the home of each subject. Responses were recorded on the questionnaire forms. Null hypotheses were tested at the .05 level of significance.The observed proportion of parents who provided parental care for their three- or four-year-old children was significantly greater than .5. The observed proportion of parents who provided parental care for their three- or four year-old children because they wanted to take care of their own children was significantly greater than .5. The observed proportion of parents who arranged informal care for their three- or four-year-old children because of a need to work was significantly greater than .5. The observed proportion of parents who arranged group care for their three- or four-yearold children because of its educational value was considerably less than .5. For those parents who arranged informal care, cost, convenience, and the quality of care were equally probable stated reasons for specific choice of informal care. For those parents who arranged group care, stated reasons for specific choice of group care were not equally probable. Convenience, educational value, and social value deviated most from the expected mean.It was concluded that many more preschool children were being provided with non-parental care than results from previous Middletown research hid indicated. Parents most often saw their need to work as the primary reason for arranging non-parental care.