Academic journal article Family Relations

Book Reviews -- Child Care in Russia: In Transition by Jean Ispa

Academic journal article Family Relations

Book Reviews -- Child Care in Russia: In Transition by Jean Ispa

Article excerpt

Ispa, Jean. (1994). Child Care in Russia: In Transition. Westport, CT. 230 pp. Hardcover ISBN 0-89789-390-5, price $55.00.

Using a cross-national perspective, Ispa explores group care for children in contemporary Russia. Any family professional interested in child-care issues, cross-cultural values, and diverse perspectives about child development in Russia and the United States will want to read this book. Perhaps the greatest contribution of the book is that it combines a historical perspective with the contemporary theories and practices of child care in Russia.

Ispa began her exploration in Soviet day-care centers over two decades ago as an exchange graduate student and advisee of Professor Urie Bronfenbrenner, author of Two Words of Childhood: U.S. and U.S.S.R. (1970). She contrasts her current observations of Russian child-care centers with those in the 1970s and with child-care centers in the U.S. A chapter on the history of Russian child care beginning with the Revolution of 1917 introduces the premise that child-care centers were a solution to the negative effects of parental influence on children. It was believed that children's personalities could be molded for a better society if they were removed from their families for most of the day.

The focus of the book is on how centers care for children today. Ispa observed "upbringers" and children at six centers over a period of 3 months. The upbringers, similar to preschool head teachers in the U.S., and the child-care directors responded to questions about what Russians expected from a good child-care center and what values were important for them to instill in children. …

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