Institutionalized care is often perceived as care outside the home. In developing as well as developed societies it could be formal or informal depending on the desires of parents along with prevailing psychosocial factors. It was my privilege to observe Institutionalized care at a renowned Infant Day Care are Center in my community. This facility housed 20-40 babies ranging from ages of three weeks to twelve months.
The rooms were distinctly organized by grouping infants according to their ages. There were two classrooms. The first classroom accommodated infants from zero to six months and the other from six months to one year. It was arranged to incorporate relevant motor skills for the age group. For example, infants who crawl and sit -up were promoted to classroom two.
When parents arrived for admission, the procedures regarding care followed a specific sequence of events, which could progress to being beneficial or harmful as it relates to the psychosocial development in their early life. These infants according to Erikson’s’ Stages of personality development struggle between trust and distrust. (Berger, 2010) as they build confidence in their surroundings and people representative of their parents.
As a researcher my main concern was how to assess whether trust was really built between the infants and caregivers at the facility being evaluated. Also, to assess the degree to which this was accomplished. During my observation there were days when infants were dropped off by their mothers that they were very joyful.
Then on other occasions there was incessant crying with screams actually refusing to remain without their parents. This motivated me into applying theoretical assumptions in finding explanations for this phenomenon. In this discussion particular references will be made to Erikson’s personality stages of development and Piaget’s four stages of cognition.
Analysis of Developmental Advantages of Institutionalized Infant Day Care
A typical day commenced with parents dropping off their children. Prior to this activity caregivers arrived earlier to sanitize the environment, prepare cots and assemble utensils for administration of feeds. This facility offered a very nurturing environment in that staff members expressed genuine love towards the infants even when they seemed agitated.
According to Piaget intelligence is the foundation to all stability. (Piaget, 1983). Therefore, it can be assumed that during this stage of development the infant is applying schemes; increasing coordination between them; expanding interiorization as well as abstracting in asserting their environment. (Piaget, 1983)
Perhaps, this explains reasons for fluctuations in responses towards being at the day care. The difficulty experienced during this stage in completing these four tasks efficiently is believed to be the underlying force. Supporting theoretical perspectives forge the notion that favorable interactions with the environment and people assist greatly in this regard.
Consequently the developmental advantage relates towards benefits derived from exposing an infant to alternative environments for the process of assimilation and accommodation to be enhanced through interaction with other elements in their world. (Piaget, 1983)
Actually, institutionalized Day Care Services foster psychosocial development since more information is acquired for the establishment of cognition as opposed to when the infant remains at home knowing merely siblings and parents. The horizons are narrowed.
Besides it forges the infant more readily to create trust in people outside the home. Erikson’s trust versus mistrust no longer becomes a huge struggle, but can occur insidiously through daily interactions with caregivers and other peers. (Berger, 2010)
This facet of nurturing the nature of each infant was impressively demonstrated as caregivers spent valuable time with them communicating verbally while feeding and burping. It was an awesome connection.
Analysis of the Disadvantages of Institutionalized Infant Day Care
While the immensity regarding benefits of Institutionalized Day Care nurturing is applauded there are some major concerns, which should be addressed before this research exposition is concluded.
“If parents, caregivers and policymakers are to understand standards of quality, they must first understand the development of attachment, the effects of early separations, parent characteristics and family circumstances that may contribute to insecurity, and the potential benefits of secure attachment to a caregiver.” (Griffin, 2000)
This statement was made by a task force exploring Critical Issues in infant day care. Clearly, my observation regarding incessant crying, is attributed to separation from the known into the unknown; “Trust versus Mistrust” (Berger, 2010,) besides “Assimilation and Accommodation” being the basis for forming intelligence. (Piaget, 1983)
In clarifying this detachment syndrome researchers have discovered that separating infants for twenty or more hours a week from parents affect normal psychosocial development. Further, it has been reported that the daily detachment of parents opting for institutionalized care is interpreted by the infant as rejection when intelligence is established through assimilation and accommodation. (Griffin, 2000).
Conclusively, in my evaluation of whether trust was built between infants and caregivers, I would submit that it was difficult to assess based on the length of time spent at the facility. However, from my observations of repeated fluctuations in responses to caregivers’ affections by these infants they demonstrated degrees of confusion.
This was exemplified when parents returned to take them home. Some were elated and happy to leave while others wanted to remain with the caregivers. It must be noted that this varied according to the days and among the children. There were no definite rhythmic reactions among them. They were unpredictable most of the time.
This Infant daycare did provide a nurturing of the nature of infants. I would recommend it as being suitable, safe, classy and a home away from home institutionalized daycare setting.
Berger, K. (2010) Invitation to the life span. New York: Worth Publishers.
Griffin, A. (2000). Infant Day Care: The Critical Issues. Eric clearinghouse on
elementary and early childhood education, urbana,ill. Retrieved April 26, 2011
Piaget, J. (1983). "Piaget's theory". In P. Mussen (ed). Handbook of Child Psychology.
4th edition. Vol. 1. New York: Wiley.