"Success By Six" is an elite child care center composed of grey cement stone; its roof is flat and industrial; its logo is printed in crisp professional, mono-colored lettering; and its succinctly abbreviated as "SB6" in their online advertisements. SB6 is run by United Way Capital Area, which has nobly collaborated with numerous other organizations to provide quality child care in attempt to address reported deficiencies in early childhood education and experience. SB6 bases their claims on recent scientific research on "brain development, quality child care, and successful early intervention" (1). SB6 insists that their "Theory of Change" is based on "strategies that have been proven to work" (1).
Each SB6 parent receives a developmental report card documenting their child's progress. The children play in a sterile, monitored and structured environment. They have facilitated access to a outdoor play area surrounded by a tall chain-link fence, entirely covered with grey small-pellet gravel. Their play equipment is clean and metallic. The children are also transported by a small fleet of white 15-passanger vans painted with the SB6 logo.
Right next door to the elite SB6 is the "Krayon Box Kids". From the exterior it is smaller. It's covered in yellow panel siding with a brown singled roof. Its siding is broken up by two small windows facing the play area. The logo is displayed on a tall sign facing oncoming traffic, and 'Krayon Box Kids" is scribbled with backward rainbow letters. Their playground is littered with colorful second-hand toys; the play area is surrounded by a short fence; and the play set is wooden with a faint worn stain. Krayon Box Kids offers no website detailing their child development approaches, and the children are transported by a set of two short rusted yellow buses with magnetic tack-on logos.
The long-winded description of these two establishments is anecdotal evidence summarizing the debate of "nature vs nurture," or perhaps just the varying severity of "nurture". An article from the New York Times presents the topic well, describing two of the main philosophies on parental involvement. Motoko Rich's 4/17/2011article, "Nature? Nuture? Not So Fast ...", briefly overviews Amy Chua's and Bryan Caplan's psychologies behind "nurturing".
Chua, a Yale law professor, is the author of ''Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother." In her book, she instructs parents to form a strict and organized environment for their children focusing on education and liberal exposures. Rich said Chua's diction "sent legions of parents into a tizzy with her exacting standards for piano practice and prohibitions against sleepovers" (2). Chua represents a parental psychology much similar to SB6.
Bryan Caplan, however, is an economist at George Mason University. His recent book ''Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think'' explains that parenting is much less complicated and should require less extensive involvement than extremists think. Rich insists that the best parenting method is one that is much more moderate -- a balance between extreme mediation and no involvement.
The "Krayon Box Kids" seems to me to be a good middle ground. Besides, if I were a kid, I think I'd want to go there anyway -- it seems more fun.
(1) "United Way's Success by 6", http://unitedwayhelps.org/pages/SuccessBy6/
(2) Rich, Motoko, "Nature? Nuture? Not So Fast ...", New York Times, 17-April-2011, http://web.ebscohost.com.ezp1.lib.umn.edu/ehost/detail?vid=2&hid=14&sid=06002b25-de59-444c-b0cb-a584d1d4f0ec%40sessionmgr4&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=60006344