By 7am, Nathan Wanzala is on the road with his two-year-old daughter Natalia. Theirs is a trip to a daycare centre in Naguru. His hope is that he is securing a bright future for her.
Wanzala is sure this is the right path toward lifelong learning, a prestigious college education and a successful career for his daughter.
“I am amazed at how she asks for permission to do just about anything.
That was not the case before she enrolled because we would keep guessing what she wanted us to do,” Wanzala shares.
What drives Wanzala is parental anxiety, the anxiety of wanting his children to have every advantage to sail through life.
Wanzala is among many other parents who believe that daycare will deliver better results than keeping children under the full care of house maids.
Almost every residential area today has a daycare centre serving parents who are wary of unreliable house maids.
The push to get young children going to preschool, from a psychologist’s view, is a difficult landscape to navigate for any parent of this generation.
Many hail the growing sector, but others also decry it, saying it takes away responsibility from parents. So, one wonders whether preschool education is worth a try.
“It depends on the purpose, how it is done, why, and the results. It has become more difficult to find reliable maids. So the mother takes the child to an organised place in form of a daycare,” says Mary Butamanya, the president of Uganda Counselling Association.
Demanding careers in this era also dictate that working parents, especially mothers, resume work after two to three months of giving birth, depending on the policies of their employers.
“In the past, mothers had the freedom to sit home and look after their children because the cost of living was not that high.
Two, the fathers then seemed more responsible and provided whatever was needed in the home, unlike today where both parents are required to contribute to the wellbeing of a household,” Butamanya shares.
Evas Kobusinge, the headmistress of International Pre-school and 24-hour childcare centre in Kamwokya, says preschool helps parents fill their children’s childcare gaps following various commitments. In other words, these institutions offer security for children.
“Some parents work the evening shift so it is easier for them to leave their children in a place that is well-founded.”
The growing number of single parents has also influenced demand for daycare centres.