However for getting a job in childcare sector, the aspirant must have right academic qualifications and right set of skills to help children reach their full potential. Besides, the aspirants must be ready to work with children in various settings such as home care, childcare centers, pre-schools, nursery schools etc.
Academic and Skill Requirements for Childcare Staff
Career aspirants in the field of childcare must have minimum a diploma or certificate level qualification in child care. With this qualification, they can start a career as a child care provider. However, higher academic qualifications are required for teaching or care providing positions available in an institutional set up. Normally candidates having an associate degree or bachelor’s degree in childhood education are preferred for academic positions in the pre-schools, kindergartens and primary schools.
There are several teaching colleges and educational institutions, across the world that offer a number of teaching courses with specialization in pre-school teaching, primary teaching and kindergarten teaching. However an ideal course curriculum of such a course must include courses on human behavior and performance; behavioral disorders; personality differences; individual differences in ability, and interests; learning methods; client management; assessment of client satisfaction; and English language.
A career aspirant in childcare sector must have good listening skills, social perception skills, instruction or teaching skills, speaking skills, monitoring or supervising skills, negotiation skills, critical thinking ability, decision-making ability, and time management skills. He or she should have good learning strategies as well as active learning skills. Since a job in child care sector is too demanding, the candidate must have good physical stamina and should be willing to work for long hours.
Job Description of a Childcare Career
Professionals who work in the childcare sector are supposed to have a good knowledge about child psychology so that they can modify their work environment according to their young clients’ specific professional requirements. Irrespective of their work environment whether home or school or daycare center, they must know how to develop a course curriculum that suits to a specific education environment and implement it with the full participation of their young clients.
Childcare professional must encourage interaction of children among themselves and encourage healthy eating habits, personal hygiene and daily exercise. They should keep a daily record of every child for his/her all activities such as eating, hygiene, play, exercise, behavior, medicines taken, if any and interaction with the other children and later they should report their assessment on the children to their respective parents. They should identify unique talents of each child and encourage him or her to develop on it. It is also their responsibility to identify weak children especially mentally disturbed, and provide them counseling and consultation services.
Best Career Options in Childcare
Major childcare careers available for qualified persons include careers as childcare providers (early childhood care provider for children up to three years of age and late childhood care provider), childcare specialists, early childhood teachers, pre-school teachers, assistant teachers, head teachers, and directors to child care centers. Qualified childcare personnel can easily find a satisfying job in all types of child care centers, child care organizations, pre-schools, kindergartens, nursery schools, primary schools, and children’s hospitals.
Childcare providers provide personalized care for the children by focusing on their personal hygiene, health and nutrition, education and play. They work both in private homes and educational institutions and childcare organizations. Childcare providers are also known as nannies, baby sitters, childcare specialists, and childcare givers.
Childcare providers provide a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment for young children so that the children should develop holistically, i.e. physically, psychologically and intellectually in such an environment. They prepare children’s curriculum and schedule various play sessions for them for their emotional and physical development. They observe children’s behavior and report their behavioral disorders, if any to the parents or guardians so that they can take corrective measures with the latter’s consent.
Childcare Providers-Home Care
Their job is to take care of children on daily basis and their major career responsibility is to attend to the personal hygiene, nutrition and education of each child placed under their care on daily basis. They are responsible for bathing, changing diapers or spoiled clothing, or feeding children; playing with the children; providing games and activities that stimulate their brains; assisting children in selecting appropriate instructional materials and reading out stories and instructions to them; and taking children out for a short trip.
Childcare Providers-Organizations and Schools
Childcare providers who work for institutions and organizations have more responsibilities than home care staff. In addition to the above-mentioned duties, they are also responsible for maintaining a safe environment for the children according to the safety standards set by the institution. Sometimes they are required to help other staff in cooking children’s meals, and in cleaning child care rooms after every instructional session.
Teachers or Instructors
Kindergarten instructors, pre-school teachers and childhood education specialists are responsible for the curriculum development and development of the child literacy activities, communication with the parents of the children, and maintain proper records and documentation on the child education programs. They are also responsible for recording timely attendance and education progress of each and every child placed under their care.
Assistant Teacher-Pre-schools and Kindergartens
Career responsibilities of an assistant teacher include teaching children on various subjects and assessment of children’s progress on a regular basis. They are supposed to attend staff meeting regularly and provide feedback on their students.
Head Teacher-Pre-schools and Kindergartens
Head teachers are responsible for planning and implementing educational curriculum, supervising assistant teachers and childcare staff, monitoring and approving children’s progress reports and their holistic development, co-coordinating trips for children, reporting progress of children to parents in bi-annual reports and through parent-teacher conferences, attending staff meetings and maintaining all relevant records.
Remuneration of a Childcare Staff
A childcare worker employed by an institution or organization earns an average annual salary of $20,940 while those employed in the home health care services earn an average annual salary of $30,370 (U.S. Department of Labor, 2009).
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