Living: Beyond a Spoonful of Sugar

Move over Mary Poppins; here come the stateside nannies

Since she ruled the downstairs--and much of the upstairs--of Edwardian households, the British nanny has been the "veddy" last word in child care for privileged families. Now she is getting some colonial competition. Prompted by a demand for long-term quality care by the growing ranks of dual- career couples, an Americanized version of the legendary domestic tyrant is blossoming in affluent suburbs across the country.

Loosely modeled on British equivalents, 17 fledgling nanny training centers, from Haddonfield, N.J., to Sacramento, have opened their doors in the past 18 months to homegrown applicants. They offer eight- to 15-week courses of study, including...

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