For those who feel a special affinity for children, a career in childcare offers many different opportunities and a chance to enjoy the fulfillment that comes from the sure knowledge that you would be nurturing the leaders of tomorrow.
The myriad of opportunities includes work in pre-schools, childcare positions, nannies, residential childcare workers, and in schools where positions such as teaching assistants have much sought after. In fact, the number of opportunities is staffing, and service providers in these areas are offering around 1.5 million registered Childcare positions that require filling.
Each job requires a different set of skills – depending on the job spec, but here are some handy hints about the sorts of people who are often an ideal fit for working with children.
- Imagination and Creativity are absolutely essential.
- Planning skills – so that you can provide stimulating and engaging activities for the children.
- You must be proactive – and a ‘get-up-and-go’ sort of personality is a must.
- Be caring and empathetic.
- Have a talent for communication across all groups.
- Value teamwork.
- Take the initiative.
- Patient and calm – even when faced with disruptive elements.
- Empathize with the individual children you will be working with.
- Have at least a working knowledge of child development.
- Be positive and responsible.
- Be willing to undergo training – both immediate and ongoing in areas of personal and professional development.
Be aware that when offered a job working with children you will have to sign an enhanced disclosure, which is much the same as a standard check, but may require additional information (often held by law enforcement) pertinent to the position.
Childcare can provide some exceptional opportunities to those of the right mindset.
Below are some examples of the sorts of positions that many people find attractive
Nursey Assistant / Nursery Caregiver
This job offers plenty of variety. The children in nurseries vary from those who are about to enter the formal schooling system (3-4) to babies. There is definitely variety. Each age group will have different developmental needs – and, in addition, there are also children who may have special needs.
Each of these groups will require a carer who can plan activities that meet their unique needs, are fun – and hopefully educational. Games and arts and craft activities are extremely important – and the children should be engaged and smiling.
Each activity will require careful planning in order to ensure that it meets the developmental needs of the individual child. A great example is ball games to encourage hand/eye coordination. Supervision of the children is also extremely important. Caregivers in charge of babies will also have to change, feed, and occasionally bathe the babies in their care. Depending on employers caregivers may have the opportunity to focus on a single age group.
Children thrive on routine – so the caregiver must ensure that a set routine is followed at the creche or nursery. Organizational skills and situational awareness are absolutely vital.
Examples of Routines:
- Snack breaks and lunch.
- Outdoor activity breaks.
- Nap time.
- Counting, storytelling, and sing-alongs.
- Arts and Crafts.
- Planning activities and other issues plus assorted paperwork.
The complexities that have to be taken into account by a childcare team are the result of the developmental stages that children navigate. A knowledge of these stages will assist you in providing the best care – and you will need to hone your observational skills.
You will also be working as part of a team of other child carers like Payroll for Nannies and nursery care practitioners. In addition, you will have to interface with management, parents – and specialists in areas such as speech therapy and other disciplines.
This is a tremendously rewarding career, but it takes a special person to thrive in this environment.