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Profiles of Panelists and Moderators

Dr. Noboru Kobayashi, M.D.
Director, Child Research Network (CRN)

Child care in Japan is now undergoing a process of rapid change. Child care was once carried out by mothers who were full-time homemakers, but it has become the responsibility of society and is now chiefly the work of child care professionals at day care facilities. This implies that child care has entered a phase in which it has become a human system made up of the father, mother, and child care specialists.

Interaction between the mother and child during early childhood is considered to be important in establishing a basis for the child's emotional development, but how should we understand this idea in terms of child care as a human system?

The significance of life experience in early childhood cannot be denied by the recent awareness in brain science, such as the formation of synapses linking the neurons, the ongoing myelination of nerve fibers, and also the so-called "theory of the mind", which are all related to the plasticity of the brain. As such, it is necessary to clarify what can be done to make this new human system of the child care function well and to raise children with healthy bodies and minds. Over the past ten years, the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) has been conducting scientific research to examine the effect of child care on the emotional development of children.

We are fortunate to be able to hold this symposium and invite Dr. Sarah Friedman, who has played a key role in the Early Child Care Project at NICHD. She will soon give us the key note address.

In 1900, Ellen Key, a Swedish woman philosopher, published "The Century of Children," a book which advocated making the twentieth century the century of children. However, in the first half of this century, not only women, but many children lost their lives in two World Wars. In the second half, children from developing and developed countries each faced with different problems, and the twentieth century did not end by fulfilling Key's wish. Given this situation, we should strive all the more to make the twenty-first century one that will truly benefit children's lives as the century of children.

It is generally said that child abuse and problem behavior in children, a series of problems in our immediate environment appear to be related, either directly or indirectly, to the nature of child care. To realize the century of children, in Japan, we will first have to think about what child care should be. I hope we will make this symposium an opportunity to establish better child care by learning from the research findings of NICHD, discussing these issues with each other, and thinking about the respective roles of the father, mother, and experts and child care professionals.

Dr. Noboru Kobayashi

Sarah L. Friedman Dr. Sarah L. Friedman, Ph.D.
Project Scientist/ Scientific Coordinator of The NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, NICHD

Sarah L. Friedman is a developmental psychologist who published scientific papers and edited books addressing (a) the effects of preterm birth on cognitive, educational and social development of children; (b) the interface of brain, cognition and education; (c) the development of planning skills, and (d) environmental influences on psychological development. She earned her B.A. in English Literature from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, her M.A. in Educational Psychology from Cornell University, her Ph.D. in Developmental and Experimental Psychology from The George Washington University. Since 1989, she has served as the NICHD scientific coordinator and one of the primary investigators of a collaborative longitudinal research project on the development of social, emotional, cognitive, linguistic and health development of children from birth through fifth grade (The NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development).

Message to participants and expectations upon giving the Keynote Address:
It is a great honor for me to come to Tokyo to tell you about findings from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development. The study was conducted in the United States of America and therefore the findings are about parenting and child care in the United States. But I hope that our findings may be useful for parents and child care providers in other countries too. People in the United States and in Japan share beliefs about the centrality of mothers in child rearing and there is great worry in both countries about the fact that many mothers of young infants are in the workforce. There is fear that this may lead to social maladjustment in the children of working mothers. This worry and the fact that the scientific literature about child care provided conflicting messages about the effects of child care on children's development led the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to initiate a large study about child care and the well being of young children. I am looking forward to presenting the study and to talking with the conference participants about parenting and child care in Japan.

Yuko Takaki
Instructor, Child Care Department, Koriyama Women's University

Instructor of development psychology with an interest in social and moral development from infant to adolescence, and CRN Child Care Clinic Advisor.

Working mothers always feel some guilty about their working. They are afraid if theirs will cause their children to have problems. I would like to share with you their current situation of children care and their anxieties based on the findings of the participants' questionnaire and the Questionnaire on the Daily Life of Young Children. I look forward to sharing ideas on the kind of family and home that allows mothers to work with peace in mind and children to enjoy daily life and the kind of support society can provide.

Yuko Takaki

Nobuko Uchida Nobuko Uchida, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences, Ochanomizu University

PhD., Human Culture Research Department. Professor of developmental psychology and cognitive psychology. Has conducted experimental research in language and cognitive development, observing child care and instruction from the perspective of child development and researches child-rearing from a broad context. Major publications include "Do shimashita? Chiiku no sodan 100" (What's the matter? Advice on Intellectual Training) by Kodansha, "Hattatsu Sinrigaku-Kotoba no kakutoku to kyouiku"(Developmental Psychology: Language Acquisition and Education.) by Iwanami, "Kodomo jidai wo yutaka ni" (Enriching childhood. Child care from the Perspectives of Developmental Psychology.) by Gakubun-sha. "Kodomo no disukousu-Monogatari no Sosyutsu no kisokatei" (Children's Discoures: The process of story production among young children.) by Kazama-shobo.

Children form emotional bonds with caregivers (mother and day care professionals) and begin human development on the basis of these bonds. First, I provide a case study of two sisters and their younger brother who deprived of maternal care, were also deprived of nutrition and linguistic, cultural, and social stimulation, and failed to form bonds of attachment with the mother, resulting in extremely late development. Through this case study, I show that the forming bonds of attachment is a prerequisite to the healthy development of children, and that bonds of attachment with familiar adults are a functional, preliminary step in development with the possibility of compensating for late development depending on whether the children were able to form bonds of attachment with the professional caregiver. Second, I would like to show that it is not the length of time that maternal care is received, but its quality (in which content is the assurance of social interaction) that is important for forming bonds of attachment, based on cases subjected to short-term, vertical analysis of child development in facilities having a large and small number of caregivers.

I would like to propose that child care in the twenty-first century urgently requires that we construct a child care environment that will produce close social interaction with the caregiver from the perspective of the child and that we restore child care functions to society to support this.

Toshimichi Matsumoto, M.D.
Fukuoka City Medical Association

Chairperson of Committee for Child Health Care in the Fukuoka City Medical Association. A member of Trustee in Scientific Field of the Japan Society for Well-being of Nursery-schoolers. Recent main papers include "Nyuji-Hoiku (Child Care)" by the Journal of the Japan Medical Association 116:585, 1996. "Collection and Utilization of the Information about Child Health Care by Individual Routine Child Health Check" by "Shoni-NAIKA" 31:3, 1999 (Joint work). "A role in local area for the Health of Heart in the Childhood" by the Journal of the Japan Medical Association, 122:613, 1999.

As women have entered the workforce in the recent years, demand for early child care has grown as one means of supporting working mothers. However, what sort of effect does group child care of infants have on the emotional development of children and mothers' feelings toward child care when infants most require affectionate behavior between the mother and child, such as during breastfeeding. I would like to report on statistical studies that are based on materials taken from examinations of seven-month old and three-year old children and talk about the present conditions of child care from the perspective of infants.

Toshimichi Matsumoto

Kazuko Imai Kazuko Imai
Professor of Early Child Education, Tokyo Seitoku Junior College

Following a twenty-year career as a teacher at public nursery schools in Tokyo and Kawasaki cities, became a part-time instructor at Jumonji Junior College and Ochanomizu University in child care and language. Publications include Kotoba no naka no kodomotachi (Children in Language) by Doshinsha, Zero, ichi, ni-saiji no kokoro no sodachi to hoiku (Raising and Caring for Infants, One-year Olds, Two-year Olds) by Shogakkan, Kodomo no kotoba no sekai (The World of Childrens' Language) by Minerva Shobo.

When early child care is provided during infancy, the relationship of children to adults and the quality of child care, in particular, must be considered to have a great effect on development. It is in early childhood that the child awakens to a sense of self and becomes more independent, and child care should be based on development of the self.

First, I would like to comment on the type of environment that raises the quality of early child care. Next, I would like to clarify the crises or difficulties in child care today and identify some the background factors. Based on these views, I would like to provide some specific ideas on how to establish child care that allows both adults and children to grow in the twenty-first century.

Eiko Makita

Writer for children's magazines and editor of child care section for over twenty years. In charge of serialized articles in Hiyoko Club and Kokko Club since inauguration of the magazines and respected intermediary between mothers and pediatricians. Currently, a journalist writing on child care, medicine, and nursing care. Activities include telephone counseling and lectures.

The twenty-first century will see an increasing number of working mothers with infants. Nevertheless, social support for child care is not sufficient, and mothers still bear the burden of child care by themselves. I hope that NICHD's research will bring fresh perspectives on the current conditions of child care in Japan.

In the panel discussion, I look forward to advice from the panelists on the significance and relevance of the data in thinking about child care in Japan. I hope that we will share all our resources in thinking about what kind of child care we really need today.

Eiko Makita

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