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The Childcare Practitioner in the Home-based Setting

The Childcare Practitioner in the Home-based Setting

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Published by Doodah2
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Published by: Doodah2 on May 14, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The childcarepractitionerin thehome-basedsettingThe childcarepractitionerin thehome-basedsetting
the reflective practitionerassertiveness and valuing yourselfmarketing your childcare servicepolicy writinginteragency working and other professionalschild protectioncontinuing professional development.
This unit willteach youabout:
Childcare in a home-based setting has unique and distinct characteristics. Youmay have decided upon this career because of the flexibility it offers, or the factthat you can match your workload to the demands of your own family. Nanniesmay have opportunities for travel that they would not otherwise have. Thereare of course many other reasons why you have chosen this career. Whateveryour reason, it is essential that you have a professional approach to your workat all times and can look objectively at your strengths and weaknesses.This unit is assessed by one assignment that can be presented in a variety offormats. It will be marked by your tutor and then externally moderated byCACHE.
The reflective practitioner
Unit 3:
The childcare practitioner in the home-based setting
The reflective practitioner
Working with children is a challenging, demandingand rewarding career. It is a skilled job that requiresa love of children and a good understanding of theissues that can affect their lives. You need to be ableto change and adapt to the many demands on you,often at very short notice! Being reflective meansthat you make time to think about your work andhow you change or improve what you do.
Understanding what ismeant by being ‘a reflective practitioner’ 
The term ‘reflective practitioner’ is quite new tothe childcare profession and can be quite dauntingto some people.Being reflective is a learning process as it helpsyou to increase your understanding and learningskills. It will mean that you can recognise yourstrengths, yet at the same time understand andaccept that you have weaknesses, or things thatyou could do better. Being reflective should resultin you offering a better service to the children thatyou care for and their families.In order to think about what we do and why wedo it, we need time. Time is often in short supplyfor many home-based childcarers, but if you are totake this aspect of your work seriously then youwill need to find time to think about and evaluatewhat you are doing and why.
Caroline is working towards achieving aquality assurance award with her localauthority. She is very busy and is findingit very difficult to find time to reflect andevaluate what she is doing, let alone writethings down. Her mentor suggests that shekeeps a pad of post-it notes and a pen in herpocket and makes a quick, brief note underthe headings What, How, Why wheneversomething occurs. For example:What – play doughHow – children didn’t play with it for verylongWhy – maybe they are bored with itAs each post-it note is used, Caroline sticksit on the fridge door. At the end of theworking day she collects them together andreads what she has scribbled down. After acouple days of doing this Caroline realisedthat she was not offering the children manynew activities and was sticking to the samefew ones she had used for a long time. Shewas able to recognise this as a weakness andrealise that she could do something about it.
How can you find time to be reflective?Try the post-it note method, or do you haveanother way of analysing what you do?
Case Study
Reflective practice
– thinking about andcritically analysing your practice, actionsand work with the intention of changingand improving what you do.
Key TermsKeys to good practice
If you are reflective you:are contemplative, thoughtful and considercarefully what you do and why you are doing itare analytical about all aspects of your work;you have a logical approach to what you doand can be critical of yourself and how youdo things• ask yourself specific questions about yourwork such as those shown below.o Where can I find out more about…?o Why didn’t this activity work?o How can I make this better?o Who could help me do this?o What might happen if I did this?
The reflective practitioner
Reflection on practice
You need to think about all aspects of your work and should not assume that because you think something is working well, it actually is. Forexample, a registered childminder may think that they have a good way of managing risks because there are very few incidents or accidents.In actual fact, the childminder does not allowthe children to engage in risky play or challengethemselves physically, therefore minimising therisk, but not actually meeting the needs of thechildren.If you have always done something in oneparticular way, that does not mean it isnecessarily the best or most effective way inwhich to do things. There is an old saying‘familiarity breeds contempt’, in other wordsthere is the danger of becoming complacent aboutyour work, something that must be avoided atall costs. Every professional needs to think abouttheir skills and keep up to date with the latestresearch.You need to think about the way you managechildren’s behaviour and how you respond tothe children. Managing children’s behaviour isan emotive issue and is subject to constantdebate. It is recognised now that we need tothink about how we respond to the behaviourand make sure that we do not see any onechild as a problem. Ask yourself if your currentpractice reflects this approach and if not, whatcan you do about it?You should be reflective about what experiencesand activities you provide for the children.Are you like Caroline in the case study above,providing good activities but only ones thatyou are confident with and that are ‘tried andtested’? Or are you innovative, constantlylooking for new, different or original ideas?Do you talk to other home-based childcarersabout what they are doing and share ideas? Doyou encourage the children to plan their ownactivities or do you prefer to ‘keep control’ of what is happening?You also need to look at the resources andequipment that you have and are using.Resources should interest and stimulate childrenas well as supporting the activity; there shouldalso be sufficient resources appropriate to theactivity.As well as reflecting on what you provide for thechildren you should reflect on how you relate toand work with parents. As has already been saidseveral times, a successful working partnershipwith parents will make a considerable differenceto the quality of care that you give to the children.Think about the way that you communicatewith parents, is it a two way process with sharedviews and information? How do you react toparents when they leave in the morning andreturn in the evening, what impression do yougive to parents? Are you harassed, rushed andstressed or do you present a calm professionalimage?Another way of reflecting on your practice is todo a SWOT analysis for yourself.SWOTstandsfor:StrengthsWeaknesses or areas for developmentOpportunitiesThreatsYou can do this as a list or as a chart; whicheverway will give you the information that youneed. The benefits of doing a SWOT analysisenable you to focus on:• the things that you do well• those areas that you could improve upon• those things in your life that could be regardedas professional opportunities, such as newcourses or training events• those things that could jeopardise your business.Below is an example of a SWOT analysis done by a registered childminder. They decided toset it out as a chart and added a column foraction points. Another column could have been added to give some indication as to whenthey hoped to implement the action points, but they have included a timescale in thection points.

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