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Childcare Careers

What is Childcare

Childcare is the supervision of a child, or children, usually from the age of six weeks to 13 years of age. Childcare is a broad topic and is handled by Childcare Practitioners in multiple environments including day-care centres and nurseries, and jobs as a Nanny or a Babysitter. Early childcare is an important component of child development therefore a childcare provider plays an integral role in early childhood education.

Opportunities in Childcare

There are different types of childcare available, so if you’re looking to start a career in childcare there are a number of career opportunities to suit your skills, personal characteristics and lifestyle. The most common forms of childcare include:

Registered Childminders
These are usually self-employed professionals who work from their own homes looking after other people’s children. Registered Childminders can often be flexible and look after children at different points in the day, whether it's before school, after school, for the whole day or in the evening. Childminders offer childcare patterns that work around the family to support specific needs.
Nannies
These professionals are usually employed by parents to look after their children in the parental home. Nannies are responsible for caring for children within the home environment (usually siblings) and are responsible for tasks including food preparation, ensuring children complete homework (if applicable) and organising clothes washing and children's possessions, for example.
Day nurseries
These organisations are responsible for looking after and educating children from 3 months old to 5 years. Day nurseries have a tendency to open from 8:00am to 6:00pm, however, this is dependent on the nursery as some may choose to change opening hours on different days or may offer a morning or afternoon session.
Pre-schools
These organisations are preparation schools and provide an educational and playful environment for children between the ages of 2 and 5. Pre-schools tend to run during term-time only, meaning they will close during half terms, summer holidays and Christmas holiday periods. There is some flexibility around the hours your child attends pre-school with some offering morning or afternoon sessions, however, this is dependent on the pre-school.
Wraparound childcare
Wraparound childcare relates to the care of children before and after school hours and during the school holiday. Most wraparound childcare is in the form of a morning breakfast club or after-school clubs as well as holiday schemes.
Care for disabled children
For disabled children, parents may feel their child needs more specialised care that isn’t available in a pre-school or nursery. There are many childcare providers that are qualified to care for children with SEN (special educational needs).

How to start a career in childcare

Whilst becoming a Babysitter may not require qualifications, it’s becoming a requirement to have a Level 2 qualification or higher in childcare to embark upon a career as a Nanny, or a Pre-school or Nursery Worker. You can gain a Level 2 childcare qualification from a number of institutions, including e-Careers. It is also recommended that you have prior experience before beginning a career in childcare, whether that be babysitting, volunteer work, becoming a Childminder, or completing work-based training such as an apprenticeship.

Whilst you don’t always need a qualification to embark on a career in childcare, a qualification validates your ability, experience, trustworthiness and reliability. As well as holding a relevant qualification, it is vital to possess certain key personal characteristics and attributes to become a well-liked and successful Babysitter, Nanny or Childminder.

Communication skills
Not only do childcare workers work with children, they also communicate with their parents. Childcare Practitioners need to be able to effectively communicate with both children and adults to ensure issues are thoroughly explained and understood and children have a better chance of learning.
Competency
Having a basic aptitude for recognizing and caring for children’s needs is an essential quality to have as a childcare worker. Not only are the early years about introducing them to fundamental social skills and educational requirements, but also key life milestones such as learning how to use the potty, how to sit at a table during dinner, and how to sit and listen to others. These are other examples of various key skills required as childcare worker. It is also essential to be able to identify any problems of bullying and spotting unusual behaviours that can help detect early signs of Asperger’s, Autism or ADHD.
Patience
Teaching children basic social skills and the fundamentals of education, whether that be reading, writing or a key subject such as maths, all requires patience. Children are easily distracted and often have a small concentration span so it can be difficult to get them to sit, listen and learn.
Friendliness
One of the most desirable characteristics of a childcare worker is friendliness. Parents are more comfortable with sending their children to childcare if they know the workers are friendly and approachable. This enables children to settle in well and be comfortable with a new person around to help take care of them.

Childcare training courses

There are many childcare training courses available at e-Careers that are suitable for individuals looking to achieve a qualification in childcare whilst balancing work commitments, family and leisure time, and social activities. e-Careers also offer professionals the opportunity to become specialised in a particular area such as SEN (Special Educational Needs). Childcare training courses available at e-Careers include:

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