I read Gabrielle Birkner’s essay on the high cost of early childcare during our annual August visit from our home in Jerusalem to our extended families’ homes in the New York area. We travel to the States each year in August because this is the one month when we do not have childcare for our toddler son and infant twin girls. Living in Jerusalem, we are fortunate to benefit from the network of excellent Mishpachtonim. This term, from the Hebrew word for family, is a cross between a home daycare and a playgroup. Most of our peers who are working parents of young children place their children in such settings, rather than hiring a private caretaker or sending to an institutionalized preschool. In a Mishpachton the caregiver is generally a young mother who assumes responsibility for several young children during working hours.
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