NUMBER 37 • 4 JUNE 2002 • DEVELOPMENT AND CARE
INDEX OF QUOTESReferences
As psychopathology is metaphor for medical science and education is metaphor for behavioral science, the “caring relationship” is metaphor for developmental science. Child care traditionally flirts with this metaphorical perspective, but never embraces it. The problem is that “care” implies intimacy that neither the medical nor the behavioral models allow. These perspectives insist that detachment and objectivity be maintained, a case of how language not only reflects but shapes our understanding of the world.
Meanwhile, child care has not embraced a clear developmental perspective. At best, the old perspectives are given developmental flavor: psychopathology is examined for developmental antecedents; learning theorists examine age-appropriate cognitive strategies — but the point is missed. Development is unique. Child care must accept that intimacy and involvement are in fact okay, and that a developmental perspective is one sensitive to those dynamic relationships which allow children to reach their potential.
Durkin (1983) brings us to the precipice of such a developmental perspective. His call to “raise children” is picked up and expanded by Robert Kegan, a Lecturer on Education at Harvard University. Like White (1959), Kegan sees children as active explorers, who manipulate their world in order to make sense of it. He characterizes development as a succession of environments which hold the child and then let the child go, while his guiding image is “the intrauterine environment... a model for the provision of a medium in which the growing organism can thrive” (1982, p. 257).
— CHRISTOPHER GUDGEON
Gudgeon, C. (1989). Mother, father, sister, friend: Metaphor and the craft of Child Care. Child & Youth Care Quarterly (18 (1) , p.20
Durkin, R. (1983). The crisis in children’s services: The dangers and opportunities for child care workers. Journal of Child Care, 1 (5), 1-13.
Kegan, R. (1982). The evolving self: Problem and process of human development. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
White, R. (1959). Motivation reconsidered: The concept of competence. Psychological Review, 66, 297-333.