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Working in Childcare Level 5 D20153



Unit 1: Overview: Working in Childcare Introduction History and current Services Roles in Childcare Personal Qualities Issues Arising Diversity Professional Development Conclusion


This module is a mandatory module for the Level 5 Certificate in Childcare and an optional module on the Supervision in Childcare course. The module is designed to equip the learner with the personal skills and knowledge required to work in a professional manner with children, parents and colleagues either in the home or a childcare setting. It aims to promote good practice, equality of opportunity and respect for diversity in lifestyles, religion and culture in early years care. On completion of this module, the learner will: Be aware of the history and current status of childcare provision in Ireland Recognise the importance of certain personal qualities and values for those working with children Understand the entitlements and responsibilities of a childcare employee Appreciate the need for continuing professional development in childcare, drawing on personal reflection and experience Promote equality of opportunity and respect for diversity in the childcare setting Appreciate the importance of working effectively with parents and as part of a childcare team.

The module is divided into five units as follows: Unit 1: Overview: Working in Childcare This unit outlines the history and current range of childcare provision in Ireland. The roles in childcare provision will be outlined and the personal qualities required to be an effective childcare worker will be provided. Methods of dealing with issues that may arise will be considered and types of illness which can prevent the childcare worker from presenting in work will be described. Facilitating diversity will be discussed and the importance of professional development in childcare will be explained. Unit 2: Legislation This unit describes the duties of employers and employees as specified in current legislation and considers the implications for the childcare worker of such legislation. The duties of employees under child protection legislation will also be considered and employee entitlements under labour legislation will be identified.

Unit 3: Working with Parents This unit describes the role played by parents in childrens welfare and development and explains how different family approaches to child rearing my influence a childs behaviour and learning. Occasions where a combined parent and childcare team approach is appropriate will be identified and effective interaction with parents in the childcare setting will be considered.

Unit 4: Relating to Parents, Children and the Childcare Team This unit explains the value of good inter-personal skills in childcare considering the use of verbal and non-verbal communication in the childcare setting. Appropriate methods of greeting children and their parents, attentive (active) listening and talking to/encouraging/comforting a child will be outlined. Different methods of disseminating information will be considered and the importance of confidentiality will be outlined. Working effectively as part of a team will be introduced and taking initiative when/where appropriate will be considered. Finally, this unit will differentiate between the responsibilities of the childcare assistant and the supervisor in communicating information to parents. Unit 5: Personal Reflection This unit will explain what we mean by personal reflection and consider methods of reflecting on personal experiences in the childcare setting. Relating personal experiences and theoretical learning to working with children will be considered. Identifying personal strengths and areas for development in working with children will be considered and finally, strategies for improving personal effectiveness in childcare work will be discussed.

This module will be assessed as follows: Assignment (2) 60% Learner record (1) (40%)

Overview: Working in Childcare

Introduction This unit considers the history of and current range of childcare provision in Ireland. The role and required personal qualities of the childcare worker will be considered and methods of dealing with issues will be outlined. The types of illness which prevent a childcare worker from presenting at work will be considered, diversity will be discussed and the importance of professional development will be discussed. History and Current Services: Over the past number of decades in Ireland, the demand for childcare has risen dramatically. Up to the mid 190s, the provision of early child care was limited primarily to small scale, part-time and community based services. With such little demand for and emphasis on the importance of the need for and advantages of early child care, the sector was largely un-regulated. In 1997, this began to change when the 1991 Child Care Act commenced implementation. Policy reports, key documents and initiatives were introduced from the 1990s onwards of particular importance here was the Commission on the Family report Strengthening Families for Life (1998); the White Paper on Early Childhood Education Ready to Learn (1999); the National Childcare Strategy (1999); the National Childrens Strategy (2000); the National Childrens Office (2000)

replaced in 2006 by the Office of the Minster for Children and Youth Affairs and the founding of the Centre for Early Childhood Development and Education (CECDE) (2002) (Hayes, 2010 pp16-17). Such a move contributed to a shift in attitude in relation to the provision of early childcare in Ireland with the advantages to the child becoming increasingly recognised. Modern times in Ireland, and in particular the recent economic downturn, resulted in a considerable shift towards childcare policy. A significant result of this is the ECCE (Early Childhood Care and Education) scheme which saw the introduction of a free pre-school year for children aged between three years three months and four years six months (ibid, p18). The range of childcare services available has increased considerably in recent years. Childcare services available include: Sessional pre-school / playgroup settings (up to 3.5 hours) Part time day care (more than 3.5 hours but less than 5 hours) Full day care settings (more than 5 hours) Montessori schools Naionrai (Irish language) Steiner schools Community and family centres with childcare provision Workplace crches

After school services Child-minders offering home based Family Day Care Educational Institute crches

Attendance can be part time or full time, dependent on the needs of the child/family. Currently in Ireland, parents/guardian must pay for their childs care, with the exception of the previously mentioned ECCE scheme.

Roles in Childcare: The options/roles available in the childcare sector can be divided according to setting and position as follows (Association of Childcare Professionals, 2011): Pre-school Childcare assistant works under supervision within the line management system of the service; requires minimum of level 5 qualification. Pre-school leader has overall responsibility for delivery of the pre-school service; requires minimum of degree (level 7) qualification). Day care Childcare assistant - works under supervision within the line management system of the service; requires minimum of level 5 qualification. Childcare room leader supervise child care assistants and work within the line management system of the service; requires minimum of level 6 qualification. Childcare Manger has the authority and accountability for directing and supervising all staff in the service; responsible for recruitment, induction, training and development and performance management of the staff; requires minimum of degree (level 7) and management experience/qualification.

After school

Childcare assistant - works under supervision within the line management system of the service; requires minimum of level 5 qualification. After school leader - has overall responsibility for delivery of the pre-school service; requires minimum of degree (level 7) qualification).

Personal Qualities Working in childcare calls for certain qualities in an individual which include the following: Excellent communication skills (written and verbal) Excellent inter-personal skills Good organisational skills Patience Understand and respect confidentiality Reliable and punctual An understanding of the childs needs and behaviours Ability to reflect In addition to the above qualities, modern services also seek computer skills, knowledge of diversity and equality and an awareness of current policies. For those seeking to work in a management role, an ability to delegate, guide staff, lead by example and provide constructive feedback will be considered advantageous.

Issues Arising: Regardless of the setting within which you work, it is inevitable that issues will arise. Such issues can include but are not limited to behaviour issues, staff conflict and relationship difficulties with families. While it s beyond the remit of this module t consider the vast array of issues which arise, the following strategy for dealing with issues can be applied to the majority of situations. Of utmost importance when an issue arises is the need to acknowledge it and seek to address the issue as soon as is practicable. Maintaining an open line of communication between all involved is essential as is maintaining accurate records of each communication (this is particularly important in cases which may require further intervention or disciplinary action). Ensure to approach the person/people involved in a non-judgemental manner and avoid making decisions until all information pertaining to the issue is available. Ensure to speak all relevant people and seek input from other staff (if appropriate). It is essential that sufficient time is given to the information gathering process. However, it is also essential that any investigation is conducted in a timely manner. Seeking advice from other professional, again where appropriate, can be useful before making a decision on how to proceed/deal with the issue. Ensure all parties are satisfied with the final outcome before considering the matter resolved. A specific issue which arises for childcare staff includes illness and when to remain off work. As a general rule, any illness which is considered communicable

(i.e. contagious) should result in a staff remaining off work. Such illnesses are considered within distinct categories as follows: Respiratory Gastrointestinal Direct/Indirect Contact Body Fluids: Blood Borne Coughs and colds Diarrhoea and vomiting Rashes; open cuts and wounds Hepatitis B and C, HIV only exclude if infectious

Diversity: Diversity is considered to refer to the diverse nature of Irish society in terms of social class, gender, returned Irish emigrants, family status, minority groups and the majority group (Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, 2006). Therefore, diversity refers to all that is different among people. While it is inevitable in modern Ireland that you will work with children of various cultures, religions and indeed lifestyles, it is not the diversity of the group with which we are currently concerned but rather how you as a childcare worker respond to such diversity. In facilitating such diversity, an awareness of your own personal thoughts and values in relation to cultural identity, religions and lifestyle choices is important as is an understanding of bias and discrimination. It is important to recognise that your value base will impact on your role and your work and as such it is therefore crucial to develop your awareness of such diversity issues through increasing your knowledge of diversity and its

implications and advantages to the developing child; critical reflection on how attitudes are formed and how these can impact the developing child and finally develop your skills in respecting the diversity of the people with whom you work and putting such respect into practice. Ensuring the environment within which you work is indeed an anti-bias environment can be achieved by following these some simple steps: Ensuring the imagery on walls/doors is multi cultural gender inclusive Including different toys/books/dress up which reflect the differing cultures/religions/lifestyles Providing signage which reflects the differing culture of all

As we consider issues around bias in the childcare environment, consider your own thoughts on these and how you approach these factors in your day to day work. An appreciation of diversity and combatting bias and discrimination is an on-going process which requires constant monitoring and reflection on practice to ensure equality is experienced by all.

Professional Development: Professional development, as the name implies, is concerned with developing your career through a process of self reflection and updating your skills and knowledge. It is essential in maintaining up to date with current trends in the childcare sector and as such, ensuring that you are the best professional childcare which you can be. Professional development can take many forms including, though not limited to, further training and education such as short courses and training days. Professional development is best considered as an on-going process hence the term continuous professional development

Conclusion: This unit considered the history of and current range of childcare provision in Ireland. The role and required personal qualities of the childcare worker was outlined and methods of dealing with issues arising in the childcare sector were considered. The types of illness which prevent a childcare worker from presenting at work were outlined, diversity was discussed and the importance of professional development was introduced.

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