When children are taken care of by qualified professionals while their parents or guardian are away for work or otherwise, it is referred to as childcare. A child may be cared for by professionals or childcare workers in different settings such as a crèche, a daycare center, a childcare center, a nursery, or at home. There is an increasing demand for childcare courses in Australia. Findings show that the demand for childcare workers in Australia was 1,60,000 in 2018 which is expected to be 1,85,000 by 2023.
Being in the company of kids may be fun but you need to be patient while handling them. It may be challenging at times as you will have to deal with a child’s hyperactivity, tantrums, crying. Many people have a perception that childcare is easy but the truth is that one needs to take a whole lot of responsibilities some of which are mentioned below.
Responsibilities of a childcare worker
• Ensure safety: As a childcare worker, the first and foremost responsibility that one gets is to ensure that the child in question is safe and is not exposed to anything harmful. They are legally responsible for the health and safety of the child under their care and familiarize themselves with Early Childhood Australia’s (ECA) Code of Ethics. For instance, you should make sure that the toys they are playing with are safe. You should see that the children do not fight among themselves or bully each other and monitor their activities in indoor and outdoor environments.
• Individual attention and comfort: Childcare workers are responsible for providing individual attention to each child. It is also their responsibility to make sure that the child feels comfortable under their supervision. They should positively interact with children to boost their confidence and self-esteem.
• Impart moral values: Since a child spends a considerable amount of time with a childcare worker in a daycare facility, it is their responsibility to impart moral values and lessons on manners and courtesies. A childcare worker teaches a child about how to behave and communicate with other children and also about sharing things.
• Education and development: One of the core responsibilities of a childcare worker is to provide Early childhood Education through fun-based activities. To aid overall development, they provide intellectual, physical, and social support. This would include puzzles, toys, games, and the introduction of mathematical concepts and narrative skills in a playful environment. They are supposed to encourage children to explore other areas of interest.
• Serve food: It is the duty of the childcare worker to prepare and serve food to children as long as the children are under their care. They look after cleanliness and hygiene when food is prepared. They make sure that the dietary restrictions, if any, are being followed. They make sure that the dietary requirements are met. They are also supposed to feed babies and toddlers.
• Cleaning and housekeeping: Childcare workers must ensure that the children are kept in a clean and healthy environment. Supervising routine cleaning activities and associating them with housekeeping also forms a part of their responsibilities.
• Interaction with parents: A childcare worker spends as much time as parents spend with their children. So it is the duty of childcare workers to interact with parents on a regular basis and update them about their child’s development. Information includes new things that the child has learned, their behavior, and any new health and dietary restrictions. They should also attend staff meetings.
• Look after operation: Along with other staff members, a childcare worker must ensure that the day to day operations of the center run smoothly. They must be familiar with the rules and policies and comply with them.
• Develop programs: A childcare worker is entrusted with the responsibility of the development and implementation of childcare programs and evaluating the success of the same. They should take ideas from staff members and share their thoughts with staff members as well.
Becoming a childcare worker
To start a career as a childcare worker, one must study Cert 3 in early childhood education and care from a reputed institute. If someone wishes to take a supervisory role like that of a manager and coordinator, then it is necessary to acquire a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care following completion of Certificate III. The certificate III in childcare course prepares you to meet the fundamental requirements of the National Quality Standard and ECS National Regulations. The course supports the execution of the approved learning framework and supports children’s learning, development, and welfare. During your course of study, you will gain knowledge about the code of ethics in childcare. The qualification will enable you to work anywhere in Australia.
There are reputed childcare course providers that open up a huge array of job opportunities for childcare workers. If you love to be with children and contribute to their growth and development, a career in childcare will suit you best.