Award-winning children's writer and former Children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo finds it "utterly extraordinary" that half of British mothers with children under five work outside the home. He is convinced that daycare (“nursery” in Britain) damages children’s development and life prospects.

He said lack of contact between children and parents was directly to blame for rising levels of mental health problems, sleep disorders and anorexia in young people.
. . .
"We pack our children off to care groups or even to school, but many countries in Europe do not send their children until they are seven," he said. "They live in the bosom of their family. That is where they are nurtured – within the nest. That is where they can grow their wings, they can learn to fly." He added: "I don't think it is an accident that one in 10 of our children is suffering from mental health problems, from sleep disorders, from eating disorders and things like that."

Evidence has accumulated in the past few years indicating that children placed in daycare are more likely to have behavioural and other problems. British think tank Institute for Public Policy Research reported last summer that infants and toddlers sent to nursery are more likely than other children to have learning difficulties and poorer health. An in-depth study of Quebec’s universal daycare program found that daycare tends to have “extensive and significant negative impacts on child behaviour and parental anxiety and unhappiness”.

At least one Labour cabinet secretary has expressed serious misgivings about putting infants and toddlers in nursery. Beverley Hughes, Minister for Children, Young People and Families, recently said that placing very young children in nursery is contrary to their best interests.

Other high-profile British child-care experts have spoken out against nursery for the very young.

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