Some countries have free nursery/pre-school from a very young age - it's compulsory in France from age three, for example. I'm interested in what kind of effect this has on children's development. By childcare I mean nursery, pre-school and babysitting, not government benefits that go directly to parents. Specifically:
Does free/subsidised childcare reduce time children spend with their parents? What kind of impact does reduced contact with parents/family have on children's development?
Does free/subsidised childcare increase the size of the workforce, in particular does it increase the number of women in the workforce? Could it be that people who push for free childcare are doing so for economic reasons rather than for the welfare of the child?
Is there a significant benefit for a toddler with attentive, caring parents to go to nursery/pre-school, or would it be better to stay with the parents?
My instinct is that free childcare will adversely effect children's development as it incentivises good parents to stick their kids with a babysitter/nursery and go off to work, which makes me think this is more of an economic push than one that actually benefits children and parents in the long run. However, I would like more data before I jump to conclusions.