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How to Start a Career in Child Care

Sharmain Zain
Reading time: 3 min

Working with children can be incredibly rewarding and demanding at the same time. Child care involves looking after one or several children at the same time. Ages can range from a few weeks up to teenagers. Early child care is an important part of child development as providers of child care can be children’s first teachers and play an important role in their early development. The development of the child is always the main focus of child care.

There are several routes into a career in child care as it is a broad area that covers a range of professions, organisations, activities, social and cultural conventions. Qualifications are essential and a combination of continuing professional development and experience can see your child care career progress.

Here we take a look at the key issues involved in a successful child care career.

Job basics

Starter: £14,000 to £17,000
Experienced: £17,000 to £22,000 (room leader)
Highly Experienced: up to £24,000 (deputy manager)
Average Hours: 35 – 40 per week

What’s involved in child care?

Daily tasks can include but are not limited to:

  • The planning and supervision of activities such as music, cooking, arts and crafts
  • Using games to teach language and numeracy skills to children
  • Accompanying children on trips
  • Changing and feeding babies
  • Writing reports on children through observation
  • Monitoring progress and sharing information about the development of children with parents
  • Ensuring the safety and welfare of children.

What Qualities Should You Have?

It is critical to have a mature personality and be committed to working with children that may sometimes have complex needs. Excellent communication skills are required to relate to the children in your care, their parents or guardians and your colleagues. This includes good IT skills.

Any child care provider must be able to work with children and their families in a sensitive and productive way. The ability to plan and organise a complex workload and activities for children is vital. It is equally necessary to express the creativity and imagination for playing games in a way that develops children.

How Can You Become Qualified?

The Department of Education (DfE) can provide information about approved child care qualifications. Entry level requirements include level 2 or level 3 in childcare or early years.

You can start working as a nursery assistant if you don’t have a level 2 qualification. This can be through a salaried job or on a voluntary basis where you could train while you work under the supervision of more experienced staff. You can also gain entry to a career in child minding through an apprenticeship.

Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English, including functional skills may also be useful.

An enhanced background check is necessary, which your employer will arrange for you.

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