The Australian has reported a growing trend of young children spending up to 11 hours a day at school, as they are being placed in before- and after-school care.

Principals have noted children arriving as early as 7.30am and only being picked up at 6pm, an extremely long day for a child who is 5 or 6 years old.

Australia has seen a greater demand for childcare in recent years, as couples struggle to stay afloat on only one income. Ironically however, a large portion of their double-income must then go into childcare: a catch-22 situation.

According to the national body for school-care providers, children would be able to cope in this situation if the care was adjusted to fit their needs, allowing them to rest and relax. But the problem remains that it is yet to be changed. Not to mention that they are out of home for such long hours that  the quality of family time (so important to the overall development of young children) becomes jeopardised.

I know I always came home to my mum in the afternoons, which is something that I’m very grateful for. But what do you think? Is it wrong for kids to be at school for longer than an average working day? Do you think that spending so much time away from home could have negative long-term effects? Or will the kids be alright, so to speak?

Tamara El-Rahi is an associate editor of MercatorNet. A Journalism graduate from the University of Technology Sydney, she lives in Australia with her husband and two daughters.