Inspire Education's blog
How to stand out as a childcare professional
Today we have a guest post from Jane Parkinson. Please note it is written from the perspective of the child care system in the United Kingdom, so the regulations and qualifications mentioned are not applicable to child care services and workers in Australia. However, her ideas on how to excel as a child care professional can be applied to the practice of child care in Australia.
Working as a childcare professional can be an extremely rewarding experience, giving you the opportunity to play a direct role in children’s growth and development.
Whether you are looking for nursery nurse jobs or nursery assistant jobs there are a number of ways that you can showcase your expertise and skills to demonstrate that you are the right candidate for the job.
Ask for training opportunities
If you are considering starting your career in childcare in the role of nursery assistant, you may not necessarily need qualifications to work in an early year’s environment. Despite this, it’s important to demonstrate your commitment to your continuing professional development when looking for your first role.
Many employers will be happy to support you in training for qualifications such as the Level 1 Award in an Introduction to Early Years Settings or the Level 2 Certificate for the Children and Young People’s Workforce while you continue to work.
If you are starting in the role of nursery nurse, you may want to work towards becoming fully qualified using a Level 3 qualification such as the Level 3 Diploma for the Children and Young People’s Workforce.
To further build on your skills you may want to explore other options such as a BTEC HNC/HND in subjects such as Advanced Studies in Early Years or foundation degree or degree in subjects such as Early Years or Early Childhood Studies.
Gain an in-depth understanding of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework outlines learning, development and care standards for children aged 0-5 years. One of its key principles is that children should learn and develop in enabling environments where any of the experiences they encounter occur in response to their specific needs and help a strong bond to be formed between parents/carers and workers.
This means that child care professionals have a pivotal role in supporting and fostering children’s development, and a good knowledge of the EYFS Framework is central to this process.
The revised EYFS Framework was published in April 2012 and alongside other changes it requires early years child care professionals to spend more time interacting with children to promote creative and critical thinking skills. This ties in closely with early language and communication skills; prime areas which prospective workers should look into.
Focus your time in the classroom engaging with children and asking them key questions to draw out their knowledge. Supporting their thinking skills can help demonstrate your commitment to the goals set out in the EYFS’s revised framework.
Other objectives include identifying whether children have any additional needs at the earliest opportunity. Taking the initiative to speak to your colleagues or the school’s special educational needs co-ordinator to identify how a pupil can be further supported in an EYFS environment can help demonstrate your ability to be proactive and take responsibility in your role from the outset.
Attending weekly planning meetings and putting forward ideas for both child-initiated and practitioner-led activities is another good way to stand out as a child care professional and something you should certainly consider.