Emotional security and daycare for babies and toddlers in social-political contexts: reflections of early years pioneers since the 1970s

Elly Singer*, Sandie Wong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We discuss oral history interviews with academics who laid the foundation of research and pedagogies in daycare for under three-year-olds in Europe and North and South America since the 1970s. Their work is clearly embedded in the social-political context of their country: the left-wing programmes for disadvantaged families in the U.S.A.; neoliberal policy and daycare because of employment of mothers in the U.S.A.; social-democratic policy and family support in Sweden; and state-controlled institutions for education in socialist-communist East Germany. The interviewees acknowledge the risk of infant daycare for emotional security. Related to values and social context in their country, the interviewees contributed to different interpretations of attachment theory, attachment policies and innovative insights such as multiple attachments, friendship between one-year-olds, group sensitivity, professional love and home-to-centre and vice versa transitions. All are convinced that today we have the knowledge to offer high-quality daycare, but that infant daycare can be a risk when economic demands are too dominant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-474
Number of pages14
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number3
Early online date29 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2019. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Oral history of science
  • emotional security
  • infant daycare
  • parent–professional relationship
  • social-political context

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