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The choice of childcare is an acute question for parents of young children in a context of rising numbers of two-parent working families. Although the availability of crèche-based childcare is less widespread than the availability of childminders, parents show a fairly clear rejection of the latter and award them their trust less spontaneously. Based on a study of interviews with 32 couples, the article examines the reasons for this persistent disqualification of childminders, emphasizing the social differentiation of this judgment according to gender as well as to the parents’ social position and evolution. While upper-class parents tend to exclude the use of childminders in a manner resembling a presumption of class-related incompetence, middle and working-class parents express differentiated educational and socializing expectations inspired by a cultural interest in psychology, an academic reinterpretation of early learning, and an attachment to the crèche as a preparation for kindergarten that instils discipline and autonomy in children. These expectations are compounded in the working-class couples interviewed by a fear of entrusting their children to women who cannot be controlled and who they suspect operate outside the restrictions imposed upon employees.

Marie Cartier
Anaïs Collet
Estelle Czerny
Pierre Gilbert
Marie-Hélène Lechien
Sylvie Monchatre
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