Are you interested in a career in childcare? If you have a passion for caring for and teaching small children and providing play activities that enable children to explore and develop, then early years could be the career for you!
Childcare workers enjoy working with children, are nurturing, caring and have a genuine interest in each individual child’s well-being, development and play. They take a pride in children’s achievements and encourage them to flourish and grow.
The importance of high-quality childcare
From the moment children are born, they are constantly learning about themselves and the world around them. If you have that natural love and fondness for every little aspect of curious children then you’ll find that this is definitely the right career for you!
The first five years of children’s lives are the most important period of their education and development. If active minds are nurtured in safe and structured ways, children will do better in later life. Where children access high quality early years experiences, this can also help make the difficult transition into school much easier.
Starting a profession in childcare is the chance to support children as they learn, develop and prepare for school. It’s a career path that could see you go into a local nursery, work in a school environment, become self-employed, be a teacher, lecturer, social worker or even a speech and language specialist.
Early Years Foundation Phase
The Early Years Foundation Stage, implemented by the Department for Education, determines how childcare providers must deliver services. The EYFS provides practitioners with a structure in supporting children’s development and is part of compulsory framework for children from birth to five, through to the end of their reception year.
Skills and qualities for working in childcare
When you are considering a career in early years it is important for you to understand the skills and qualities required for working with babies and young children.
Skills and qualities needed include being:
- An active listener and a good communicator
- Transparent and trustworthy
- Caring and empathetic
- Patient and respectful
- Reliable, flexible, committed and motivated, professional
- Have a good sense of humour
- Able to work as part of a team.
One thing you need to consider is that each child is unique and so you will be dealing with different kinds of behaviours, needs, and wants. A huge amount of patience and understanding is required for someone who wishes to enter the early years as a career.
Safeguarding our youngest children is essential. The first priority for any childcare employer is to check that those entering early years as a profession are suited to working with children.
Before you start, anyone working with children must have an enhanced Disclosing and Barring Service check (DBS) and must disclose if they are living with anyone that is barred from working with children.
Employers will also obtain references and ensure that new recruits are satisfactory before allowing them to work with children unsupervised.
Training and qualifications
Childcare work can involve dealing with children of all ages, from babies and toddlers, to older pre-school children.
You might start your career as a nursery assistant without any qualifications, but you will need to train and study to a minimum of level 2 or level three qualifications to allow you to progress and becomes a qualified nursery worker. From there, you might even be able to progress into supervisory and managerial roles.
It does not matter where you are starting a career in early years as there are a range of qualifications available.
Those working in early years are committed practitioners that enjoy their work, reflect on the impact of their engagement with children and take responsibility for improving on what they do through regular participation in their own professional development.
The people who work in childcare genuinely love working with children and play an integral role in helping them to develop through fun activities. As a practitioner, you will laugh, smile, and your day might be just as fun for you as it is for the children. Furthermore, you will have the immense satisfaction of seeing children develop skills and knowledge that they will use throughout their entire lives!
Childcare is an exciting, rewarding career and as you can see there are plenty of routes available for people who want to work with children.