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What Does a Childcare Worker Do?

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    A childcare worker introduces babies and toddlers to basic concepts by reading to them and playing with them. For example, they teach young children how to share and take turns by playing games with other children.

    They often help preschool-aged children prepare for kindergarten. They use children's play to improve their language (for example, through storytelling and acting games) and their social skills (for example, by having them build something together in the sandbox). In addition, they may involve the children in creative activities, such as art, dance, and music.

    Childcare workers often watch school-aged children before and after school. They help these children with homework and ensure that they attend after-school activities, such as athletic practices and club meetings.

    During the summer, when children are out of school, childcare workers may watch older children and younger ones for the entire day while the parents are at work.

    Childcare workers are qualified professionals who care for young children while their parents are busy, working or otherwise. They work in childcare centres, early learning centres, after-school programs, nurseries, creches, and in people's homes as nannies.

    They provide children with a consistent daily routine and supervise educational and recreational activities to help children in their development.

    There's a perception that childcare is an easy and fun role, but the critical work that childcare workers do often goes unnoticed.

    There's so much more involved than just playing with children all day.

    Roles and responsibilities of childcare workers include:

    • Caring for toddlers and young children in various environments and providing educational, social, physical and intellectual support to aid appropriate development.
    • Preparing materials, activities, games and meals.
    • You will often be directly involved with children (e.g. playing games with them), and you sometimes might be required to take on a more supervisory role while interacting with other kids.
    • You will also need to be willing to accept legal responsibility for the health and safety of children in your care; you should be familiar with Early Childhood Australia's Code of Ethics.
    • Most child care work involves working as part of a small team, so working intimately with other carers is essential.

    Advantages & Disadvantages of ChildCare

    Having your child at daycare at your workplace might seem like an ideal situation. However, on-site daycare brings both advantages and disadvantages for employers and employees. The advantages and disadvantages are intangible and tangible.

    Through providing metrics for actual costs, liability and sustainability can truly measure the benefits and the downside to this employee benefit. Disadvantages for employees may include prohibitive costs, even with an employer subsidy, and the uncertainty as to whether the daycare provided meets their children's educational and socialization needs.

    Advantage: Recruiting

    Companies that provide on-site child care may have a better chance of increasing their pools of qualified applicants. Some job seekers base their employment preferences on the types of benefits an employer offers, particularly on-site child care.

    A study from Simmons College Graduate School of Management found that 93 per cent of parents report that having a child care facility at the workplace weighs into their decision about accepting a job offer, and 42 per cent of employees selected the employer they're with based, in part, on the benefit of having on-site child care.

    "Fortune" magazine's 2011 list of "100 Best Companies to Work For" identifies more than 25 employers out of its top 100 who offer on-site child care benefits, which could be one of the reasons why those companies are considered the best to work for.

    Disadvantage: Liability

    Employers have unforeseen liability for child care centres they manage on their premises.

    The licensing requirements and employer sponsorship for licensed professionals can be difficult to manage. Additionally, if liability issues arise, employees are likely to blame both the employer and the child care worker. This is a sure way to destroy the employer-employee relationship.

    Advantage: Employee Satisfaction

    The obligations for working parents can be less stressful when they know their children are nearby.

    The travel time they spend dropping off and picking up children from another child care facility can be cut drastically, and enrolling their children at an on-site child care centre gives parents more time each morning and afternoon with their children. Employees whose personal obligations cause less stress usually exhibit signs of greater job satisfaction. Additionally, employees who use this benefit appreciate the convenience and value of on-site child care.

    Disadvantage: Benefits Knowledge

    Employers who offer on-site child care must have someone on their human resources staff who understands the implications of this employee benefit.

    They don't have to be a child care or child development expert; however, they should have a working knowledge of the types of challenges on-site daycare poses for both employers and employees. For example, an in-house benefits specialist whose competencies include tax matters related to the administration of dependent care accounts is ideal for this role. Unfortunately, finding someone with specialized knowledge handling on-site child care benefits may be difficult.

    Advantage: Reduced Absenteeism

    Employers often hear child care as the reason many employees can't make it to work.

    This is because their child care arrangements fell through, or they have a sick child who can't go to his regular daycare facility. Although on-site child care centres may have some of the same rules concerning sick children and contagious illnesses, parents with unreliable child care providers benefit tremendously from an on-site provider. In addition, reducing the incidence of employee absences saves employers millions of dollars every year.

    Disadvantage: Expense

    On-site child care is certainly convenient, and employees who take advantage of employer-sponsored child care benefits in the workplace usually determine whether it's cost-effective by comparing on-site child care to other child care providers.

    The reality is that on-site child care can be expensive. The higher costs can be attributed to the simple fact that companies that are not providing daycare services as a part of their routine services have to outsource that function.

    Setting up a child care facility can be expensive for many employers, especially when they consider costs to build a separate facility, hire employees with child development expertise and monitor insurance costs. The only way to sustain on-site child care is to pass along some of the costs to employees.

    The Differences Between Preschool & Daycare

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    Parents all too often mix up preschool and daycare. While both options are beneficial for child development, there are key differences between the two. Daycare is primarily for child care, though many have trained early childhood education staff.

    Preschool, meanwhile, is intended as a less formal class setting to help bridge the gap between daycare and kindergarten. Although preschool is not a mandatory part of the elementary school system, it offers a beneficial experience for children. In preschool, children learn social and academic skills to help with the transition to kindergarten and grade school.

    If you need help to decide which program is best for your child, consider the following differences between the two, and contact an Orleans preschool and daycare centre for more information.

    Age Of Children

    Daycares usually cater to young children, ranging from 18-months-old to toddlers up to the age of three. Preschool is for children a year or two away from kindergarten, usually ages three and four. New and younger preschool children will sometimes attend preschool part-time (half days) for help easing into the preschool setting, while other children will attend preschool full time.

    Duration Of Program

    A daycare will usually provide child care year-round, Monday to Friday, and during regular work, hours to accommodate working parents. While most daycares are not open during weekends and holidays, some accommodate parents who have irregular work schedules.

    Since preschools are an introduction to the school setting, they typically run from September to May or June. Some preschools offer part-time half-day programs, and others are full-time, Monday to Friday, similar to a regular school day.

    Preparation For A Class Setting

    Preschool teaches children skills that will help them succeed socially and academically in kindergarten and beyond. Children who attend at least one year of preschool before starting kindergarten will learn about numbers, letters, and shapes and will have improved vocabularies, pre-reading skills, and basic math skills.

    Preschool also exposes children to learning in a group setting. The numerous social skills that kids pick up in preschool are especially important for a healthy adjustment to kindergarten.

    Children learn how to behave in a class setting, such as raising their hands to ask or answer questions, waiting for their turns, respecting others, and paying attention to their teachers.

    Independence

    Another important skill that children learn in preschool is how to be independent. When children spend half days or full days away from their parents in a preschool class, they can learn to cope with this separation in a fun setting with peers and teachers.

    This will make the transition to kindergarten even easier for children. Preschool also teaches children how to make decisions, do things for themselves, contribute to the class, and become self-reliant and confident with their abilities.

    Quality daycares will also help children develop social, cognitive, and emotional skills with well-educated and trained staff.

    So if your child is still a few years away from starting kindergarten, then a quality daycare is the best option. But if your kid is reaching school age (around three or four), a preschool program will better prepare them for kindergarten and grade school's social and academic setting. Contact an Orleans preschool and daycare centre for more information on these two programs.

    7 Things to Consider When Choosing a Daycare

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    Sending your little one to daycare is a huge parenting milestone. Choosing the right centre can be overwhelming and challenging for any parent with all the factors to consider. The fact that you will be leaving your child under the care of other people is more than enough to make you feel anxious.

    But don't worry. High-quality child care centres provide a safe, engaging and friendly environment for young children. If you want to make sure you're making the best choice, here are some important points to consider when choosing a daycare.

    Program And Curriculum

    No matter how young your little one may be, it's never too early to begin age-appropriate learning. When looking for daycare, take time to learn each centre's program and curriculum. Find out what lessons are being taught and if these lessons are age-appropriate.

    Ask what their goals are for teaching and if the programs are tailored according to a child's age and developmental stage. You'll also want to ensure that there is ample time for play because play is essential to young children's holistic growth. Also, ask how you can get updates on your child's developmental progress.

    School Environment

    Another important factor to consider when choosing a daycare is the school environment. Pick a childcare centre with a warm and welcoming environment. Make sure that the location is also safe for young children. Find out if the school has safety and security procedures to protect its students.

    Are the buildings, classrooms, playgrounds and outdoor areas safe for kids? Are there any safety hazards you should be worried about? Take time to look at these things when you're at the facility you're checking out.

    Facilities And Materials

    A high-quality childcare centre has a friendly and warm environment conducive to learning. Be sure to pick a daycare with clean and sanitary buildings and classrooms. Check their toys and learning materials to make sure they are safe and child-friendly.

    Are the materials age-appropriate? Are the pieces of equipment in good working condition? By taking the time to check these things, it will be a lot easier to select a learning environment that can bring out the best in your child.

    Teacher And Student Interaction

    The teachers and staff in the daycare should also be assessed during your visit. Be sure to learn more about the teachers' educational background and experience when working with kids. Find out if they have been trained and certified in first aid, CPR and infection control.

    Also, don't forget to pay attention to how the staff and teachers interact with their students. Observe if they have an engaging interaction and if the children respond well to their teacher. Also, notice their actions, body language and the words they use in communicating with kids.

    Day To Day Activities

    The daily activities and routine can vary greatly between daycare centres. For example, some invest more time in structured classroom activities, while others emphasise outdoor trips and activities.

    Consider your child's needs and behaviour to determine the daycare program that suits them best. Also, consider how it compliments your parenting style.

    Recommendations

    Another way to find out if a child care centre is an excellent choice is by speaking to other parents. Ask other parents or even your family and friends for their recommendations.

    Ask them what they think of a particular daycare and if there are other options, they can recommend. It is also a good idea to do online research and visit the daycare's website. Read parent reviews and pay close attention to any red flags.

    First Impression

    Never ignore your gut instinct when choosing a daycare. First impressions are important. When you feel like something is not right, then something probably isn't. How did you feel about the daycare centres you visited? Did you feel welcomed? Does it seem like a happy and friendly place? Does your child like the place? How did they react during the visit?

    Here are several important skills that child care workers commonly have:
    • Communication skills. ...
    • Planning and instruction. ...
    • Creative thinking. ...
    • Decision-making skills. ...
    • Problem-solving skills. ...
    • Analytical skills. ...
    • Compassion and empathy. ...
    • Organizational skills.

    Although it's a tough and sometimes testing role, childcare is an incredibly rewarding and fast-growing industry that's perfect for anyone with a love of children and a good ability to multitask.

    Working in daycare is also not that stressful. While kids can be difficult, most of them can be handled in a rather simple manner if you know what you are doing and if comments of those kids don't bother you. Thus, if you have the right mindset, your childcare job will not even feel like work to you.

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