From Library Journal
Shell (journalism, Boston Univ.) here profiles the Cambridgeport Children's Center, a multicultural, community-based day care center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her focus is an experienced teacher named Molly and three representative families: a middle-class family with two daughters, a Haitian immigrant couple with American-born children, and a single mother and her son. The result is a highly readable, deeply informative account of the status of day care in the United States. She assesses the problems, dynamics, emotions, and politics of child care as they are played out on the local, state, and national policy making levels. Around the framework of daily life at the center, the author weaves moving details about family and teacher concerns along with considerable information on the many complex day care issues. Thoroughly researched and gracefully written, this is an important book.- Hilma F. Cooper, Cheltenham Township Libs., Pa.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Close-up look at Cambridgeport Children's Center, a.k.a. Tot Lot, a community-based, multicultural day-care center in an ethnically and economically diverse neighborhood of Cambridge, Mass. Shell (Journalism/Boston Univ.) creates Tot Lot's portrait by observing and meticulously recording minute details about children, parents, and teachers. Here, she concentrates on three families: a poor Haitian one whose lives are centered on their commitment as Jehovah's Witnesses; a middle-class couple with two careers, two daughters, and a pretty good sense of how to make the system work; and a single working mother and her son. We learn a great deal about their daily lives--what they eat, what they wear, what they do, what they think about--and how they came to be where they are now. Shell provides the same kind of detail about one longtime teacher at the center, rather less about the school's frazzled director, and considerably less about other teachers, who tend to come and go. A high turnover-rate is but one of Tot Lot's problems, for it has teetered on the edge of financial disaster throughout its existence, and there is no assurance that it will survive. Shell tries to place Tot Lot in perspective by including information on the history of child care, differing philosophical approaches to early childhood education, other social agencies concerned with child welfare, and the impact of legislation and budget cuts. Overly detailed but informative--and disturbing in its implications about the economic viability of the day-care system. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.