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Exploring parental preferences: Care or education: What do Greek parents aspire from day care centres?

Early childhood education and care is a multifaceted institution. Based on children's age, a number of different settings operate, which have usually two distinct aims. Kindergartens provide mainly education whereas day care centres provide care. Yet, in recent years, the need to establish programmes which provide both education and care to children from birth until their admission to primary schools (educare) has been emphasised, though limitedly. The reported study aimed at examining what Greek parents aspire from day care centres. More precisely, we aimed at exploring whether parents of infants/toddlers and preschool children consider more important aspects of care or education. Research results suggest that parents of both infants/toddlers and preschool children assign particular significance to the human factor, as well as children's care, while less attention is paid to the pedagogical dimension of day care centres, in parents:teachers' collaboration and to aspects which refer to meeting the needs of educators. These findings, which imply that day care centres are considered mainly as welfare institutions, are discussed and suggestions are formulated. (author abstract)
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