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Skills to do childcare job well

(18 Posts)
TeenAndTween Tue 18-Nov-14 15:09:35

My DD is in y11 and is considering doing childcare at college. I'm not convinced it is really right for her as I don't think her skill set or general interests match that well. She has been volunteering in an ASC and likes 'playing with the children' but I'm thinking there is more to it than that.

To work in a nursery or preschool, what skills would you say are needed?

HSMMaCM Tue 18-Nov-14 15:23:54

Vast quantities of patience

rosiecg Tue 18-Nov-14 16:22:35

Yep, patience!

Sense of humour. Awareness of boundaries, good way of speaking (not just slang and 'um, like' all the time!), enthusiasm, energy....

The rest you can learn smile

NannyNim Tue 18-Nov-14 19:55:15

A genuine love for children! So many people go into childcare because they can't think of anything else to do or they think it's going to be easy. It's not. You need to actually enjoy spending all day with toddlers and be willing to learn the names of all the Thomas the Tank Engine vehicles as well as the difference between a back hoe loader and a tractor.

You need endless patience and humour as previously mentioned as well as a cool, calm persona (or at least the ability to pretend you have!) and to be able to really focus on the task (or 3!) at hand!

HiawathaDidntBotherTooMuch Tue 18-Nov-14 20:10:19

There are two important parts to acting for children, IMO, and they are your relationship with parents and your relationship with children.

As a parent who employs a nanny, I would say that every one of our three nannies (we haven't had three all at once, obviously!) have had marvellous relationships with the children. They've cared for them very well, played with them, taken them to activities and interests and attractions etc, been good fun, kept them safe and well etc. but the relationship between them and us as parents has varied.

I would say that a nanny (but any child carer must have some of these qualities) should be respectful of parents' wishes and parenting styles, discrete, professional and have good judgement. Some of this comes with experience and maturity, but some of it is instinctive too.

JennyBlueWren Tue 18-Nov-14 20:10:34

Enjoying playing with children is a good start. If she wants to work in a nursery or preschool then she probably should look to get experience with younger children -is there anyone she could babysit for?

She would need to be responsible, reliable and patient and enjoy spending time with children and understand their level of development. Some of this might be innate -some can be developed.

Remember we don't all know what we want to do at that age although sometimes it feels like we're expected to. I wanted to be a solicitor then a politician/civil servant/diplomat?!
I am now very happy as a teacher currently in nursery!

Let her keep her options open and accept that she might change her mind.

Haushinka Tue 18-Nov-14 20:16:42

If she wants to work in an early years setting, I think organisation skills for planning, assessments and so on are also important.

HSMMaCM Tue 18-Nov-14 20:42:30

Is she able to put up a pretence of being a happy cheerful person, even when she's feeling a bit tired and grumpy?

TeenAndTween Tue 18-Nov-14 21:11:23

Thanks all.

These are the good things
- reliable, hardworking, patient
- good with young children
- good communication skills
- well spoken, well read
- expecting a crop of GCSE good passes

She is being assessed at the moment for dyspraxia, and these are the concerns I have for her regarding childcare:
- organisation skills quite poor
- memory for remembering messages poor
- craft skills poor (eg cutting out, drawing, playdough)
- thinking on her feet / quick problem solving poor
- phonics poor (despite us redoing it with her when her sister learned)
- has never been good at imaginative play

So how much would you say the concerns I have would matter?

Cindy34 Tue 18-Nov-14 22:20:16

The organisation skills would be a worry. Try to come up with ways to resolve that, such as writing things down, using calendars, planning little routines for things, physical organisation of things such that they go back in the same place. Packing bag before going to sleep.

Are there any examples of things that are hard to organise?

Another skill needed: Work experience. Part time job in something completely different to get the feel of work, vs college. Get to know what being an employee is like, someone telling you what to do, paying you.

Another skill needed: How to care for a home. Basics of how things work, such as if a bulb blows what to do. If all power goes off, what to check and what to do safely (torch vs candle). These days we often carry a torch on us a lot of the time, it's our mobile phone.

Animals: a wide experience is useful. Chickens, cats, dogs, rabbits, ginny pigs are fairly common. Snakes less so but I have fed one in the past - always odd finding a pack of dead mice in the freezer!

Cindy34 Tue 18-Nov-14 22:21:52

My tips are for if she ever wants to be a nanny but equally would be useful in nursery environment.

NannyNim Tue 18-Nov-14 22:46:40

If she has a diagnosis of dyspraxia then any work place has to provide her with the means to overcome the attendant issues to some extent. And if she's aware of her weaknesses then she'll learn ways to overcome them with time and practice. This could involve her giving the parents of her key children (assuming she is in a nursery) a notepad that she can use to communicate with them and so avoiding having to remember messages. That sort of thing. The strategies for organisation can all be taught and fostered to some extent.

I'm not particularly crafty or arty but that was never an issue as plenty of other people in my time in nurseries took on that responsibility. Now I'm a nanny I can paint and draw to toddler standards (a recognisable car is all that's required!) And I find ways get around most things (think stencils and using cookies cutters with Playdough!) so that probably won't matter much either providing she can eventually find an accommodating work environment and she can have fun and be enthusiastic and hoin in anyway!

What do you mean by phonics? I wasn't taught to read and write using phonics at school but a different method so I don't actually "get" it. It's not held me back and I'm sure if it were ever an issue I'd receive training.

The lack of problem solving and imagination may prove more problematic but I can't say without knowing her. If she has good training and encouraging tutors, mentors and placements then she could well surprise you and find ways to make it work for her! If she's serious, support her! She could either find she's fantastic and that would be brilliant but she may realise it's not for her and that's okay as she has plenty of time to figure out what she wants to do and she won't walk away without having learnt something!

All the best to her! smile

TeenAndTween Wed 19-Nov-14 08:28:45

Thank you all very much for your time and information.
We will mull it over.
She is not 'serious' about wanting to do childcare yet, which to be honest is another reason why I'm not sure it would be the best decision for her at this stage, I think there are other things she might enjoy more.

I hadn't even thought about the animals and homecare stuff.

OhReallyDear Wed 19-Nov-14 11:19:27

I am going to copy the others. Patience.

It helps to be organised. But you can learn as you work. But if you don't have enough patience, stay away from nannying, as kids can push you so close to your limits ;). It's better to be honnest with it.

OhReallyDear Wed 19-Nov-14 11:27:39

- organisation skills quite poor

She can learn as she works.

- memory for remembering messages poor

I forget everything. I have a book where I write everything (especially I think about something in the morning, 8 -busy- hours later it's forgotten

- craft skills poor (eg cutting out, drawing, playdough)

Once again, she can learn. And we do most of those things when we go to drop in playgroups, they always have a table with a craft activity

- thinking on her feet / quick problem solving poor

How old is she again? That's something you learn as you go trough life. I wouldn't expect a very young and unexperienced person to be good at that

- phonics poor (despite us redoing it with her when her sister learned)

The children will have parents to teach them

- has never been good at imaginative play

The kids can be imaginative, she will just have to play with them

I don't see anything that would stop her from being a nanny or working in a nursery.

OhReallyDear Wed 19-Nov-14 11:30:18

Oh, sorry, I just saw that she wanted to work in a nursery. I guess it's even less of a problem, as she would join a team, with a routine and activities already in place. SHe will learn by being a part of the team

anewyear Fri 21-Nov-14 16:17:38

Plenty of paperwork..

I have 10 key children.. Planning, Observations, Progress Assessments, 2 yr old Assessments, Transition to school assessments, Trackers, Characteristics of learning & interest sheets, Next Steps, EYFS snapshots..
Some daily some weekly some monthly..

insancerre Fri 21-Nov-14 17:19:21

The most important things are empathy. patience and a willingness to learn
Everything she needs can be learnt at college or on the job

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