Saxonberg, Steven, Hana Hašková, Jiří Mudrák. 2012. The Development of Czech Childcare Policies. Praha: Sociologické nakladatelství SLON. 173 s. ISBN ISBN 978-80-7419-101.

The area that comprises today’s Czech Republic has a long and rich history of providing childcare facilities to preschool children. Kindergartens continue to be popular to this day and at present almost all Czech children attend these facilities. On the other hand, nurseries nearly vanished in the Czech Republic. The question remains why a country that used to belong to the world leaders in providing access to childcare has so suddenly become one of the greatest laggards concerning care for children under three. This question has led the authors to more questions. For example: How have Czech pre-communist, communist and post-communist childcare policies developed? How did social scientists, popular psychologists, feminists, fundamental Christians, politicians and conservative ideologues influence the development of Czech childcare policies? How have the historical-institutional developments influenced the attitudes of Czech population to childcare? Why are Czechs critical toward early childcare? What does the recent international research have to say about the development of children who attended childcare facilities before the age of three? And why doesn’t the international scientific discourse influence the Czech discourse? Is it true that early childcare is too expensive? Is it cheaper to pay mothers to stay at home with their small children as Czech politicians have argued since 1989? Or can the Czech Republic save a lot of money by supporting early childcare? What are the principles of non-discriminatory childcare policy? And does the Czech Republic follow these principles? This book attempts to answer these questions. The authors show the historical-institutional roots of the development of contemporary Czech childcare discourses and policies and uncover the historical decisions that set the Czech Republic down its gendered familialist path. In their search, they emphasize the interaction between institutions and discourses of childcare. They are inspired by discursive institutionalism which focuses on the ways in which discourses influence institutions. This book, however, emphasizes that institutions also influence discourses: It shows how Czech institutions and political decisions of the past have led to the present unsatisfactory situation of the Czech early childcare.

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