Children are our most precious resource – they will grow up to be the artists, innovators, leaders, teachers and parents of tomorrow. Lifelong success, health and emotional well being are built on foundations laid down in early childhood.
It has been shown that investing resources into supporting children in their first years of life has a long-term benefit not only to the child, but their community as well. Early childhood carers and educators, therefore, carry a weighty responsibility. Are you up to the challenge?
Read on to Know if a Child Care Career Suits You
Early childhood educators’ responsibilities
Early childhood educators care for the emotional, physical, social and educational needs of young children in a variety of settings, such as long day care centres, family day care and in-home care.
As an early childhood educator, your responsibilities can include:
– Planning and implementing developmental programs designed to meet the needs of individual children
– Observing and reporting to parents their children’s behaviour and development
– Supervising and training staff
– Performing basic first aid in case of emergencies
– Modifying programs and physical environments in care centres to integrate children with special needs
– Preparing learning and play materials for children
– Supervising children’s play and ensuring a physically safe environment at all times
– Preparing food for light snacks and meals
– Guide children’s social and behavioural development
– Maintaining a safe and clean environment appealing to children
Desirable attributes for child carers
A number of personal traits are particularly valued in people looking after our kids. Does this describe you?
– Observant, active and alert
– Good judgement and takes the initiative
– Willing and able to accept responsibility
– Works well in a team
– Able to communicate effectively with children and parents
– Able to lift equipment and children
If it does and you love looking after babies, toddlers, kids and pre-teens, this could be a wonderful, satisfying career choice for you!
The status of child care industry in Australia
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1.5 million Australian children aged 12 or under had regular child care arrangements in 2008. There has been an ongoing trend towards the use of formal childcare in the past decade.
The Australian Government has implemented significant reforms to child care standards in recent years, designed to improve the developmental outcomes for children using child care services. Called the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care, it increases the minimum training requirements for educators and sets higher minimum standards of care required by many types of child care services. In particular, it decreases the maximum number of children that can be supervised by each qualified carer.
The roll-out of these new standards has been staggered to allow providers time to adjust and accommodate for them. The first round of changes came into force in 2012 with other significant regulations scheduled for the 1st of January 2014 and 2016 and continuing into the next decade.
The combination of demand for child care services coupled with increased standards for care indicate there is likely to be continuing demand for accredited early childhood educators for some time.
How can you get started in childcare?
By the 1st of January 2014, all family day care educators will be required to have (or be working towards) an approved Certificate III level qualification in early childhood education, or equivalent. The Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care meets these requirements and is the perfect course with a mixture of hands-on practical demonstration of abilities as well as the theory you need to get started as a child care worker.
For a more experienced person who already holds a Cert III in Children’s Services, the Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care is an excellent course to build on your experience and training to expand your abilities to running whole day care centres.
Both courses have a workplace experience based component to ensure you have the chance to apply your skills and gain valuable experience on the job. Couple these courses with a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and you can take on roles as a trainer, helping others achieve their Certificate III and Diploma qualifications in child care.
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