Archive for the ‘Childcare’ Category

What Animal Are You?

Happy Happy Joy Joy!

I recently attended a group interview to work in a nursery setting, and one of the questions they asked was “Which animal would you be, and why?”

How random, and deeply psychological! How to answer in an intelligent way, which didn’t come across as being too much of a stick in the mud? It was a child care environment after all, but I didn’t want to come across as a drunken Care Bear!

James and Moore (2010:173) describe the animal a person likes as a pet as a “miniature version of their heart”. Cat lovers are proud and haughty, fun but not someone to go to in a time of need. Dog lovers are practical and responsible, due to dogs being even more high maintenance than kids. However, they can be a bit of a control-freak, and also somewhat needy.

Simple, yet possibly devastating to your first impression. The first guy said he wanted to be a pig, because he likes to eat a lot! Continue reading


Government Unveils Wide-ranging Review Of The Early Years Foundation Stage

A review of the Early Years Foundation Stage! What do we think this means?

From the Department for Education, 6 July 2010:

Children’s Minister Sarah Teather today asked Dame Clare Tickell, Chief Executive of Action for Children, to carry out a review of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) so that it is less bureaucratic and more focused on young children’s learning and development.

Ministers are concerned that the EYFS framework is currently too rigid and puts too many burdens on the Early Years workforce, which has led to some of the workforce saying they are spending less time with children, and more time ticking boxes.

The Government has asked Dame Clare, a children and families expert, to make sure the standards that support young children’s learning are based on the best and latest research on children’s development. They want to shift the focus to getting children ready for education and to increasing the attainment of children from deprived backgrounds.

The review will cover four main areas: Continue reading

Childcare Workers Only Paid A Tenth Of Their Worth

Childcare workers only get £1 for every £9.50 of benefits to society they create, according to a recent study called ‘A Bit Rich’ by the New Economics Foundation. In contrast, leading bankers (who are paid £500 thousand to £80 million a year) actually destroy £7 for every £1 they’re paid!

OK, to be fair, the aftermath of the global economic crisis isn’t the best of times to be considering how much value bankers generate. Still, the message is clear: Childcare workers could stand to be appreciated a whole lot more.

How Much More? Continue reading

The Secret To Choosing A Good Nursery

Already know about The 3 Most Important Things In Choosing A Childcare Provider? Well maybe it’s time to go into more detail on how to spot a good nursery.

Like myself, a lot of people work in childcare because they’re passionate about it and want to make a positive difference in children’s lives. However, a nursery is still a business, and like all businesses, you can tell how things are doing by taking a close look at the staff.

Uh-oh. Too Many Kids?

If The Staff Aren’t Happy, The Children Won’t Be Either

It may seem obvious, but scientists decided to study it anyway:

Depressed Caregivers Hostile, Not Warm, To Children

So unhappy staff will have a negative effect on children. Simple. What’s less simple though, is judging how happy staff are.

How Do You Tell If Staff Are Happy?

If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to have a private chat with some of the staff. However, don’t expect them to come to you saying “Hey, this place sucks, get me out of here!” Other things you should look at include:

  • Turnover. Staff leave if they’re not happy, so check with the management what turnover is like. On the flip side, management will also brag if they have staff who’ve been around for a long time, so if they don’t do that, alarm bells should be ringing. And don’t just believe whatever management says; double-check with the staff.
  • Staff benefits. Good employment packages and opportunities for career development  go a long way in keeping staff happy. The current  nursery setting I’m in has booked a hotel for a training day, which has been great for morale.
  • Staff ratios. Nobody likes to be doing more than they should be, and staff ratios help to ensure that a room isn’t understaffed. Not every country has a legal requirement for staff ratios, but in the UK staff to children ratios are according to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which is 1:3 for under 2s, 1:4 for 2-3s and 1:8 for 3-5s.

These are some of my personal views from a staff member’s viewpoint. I wonder how others feel about the issue?

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The 3 Most Important Things In Choosing A Childcare Provider

Children With Question Mark

How To Choose The Best Childcare?

I’m sure we can all agree how important choosing a reliable, affordable childcare provider is. It’s not always a simple task though! To help out, here are some pointers for choosing a childcare provider that’s best for your child’s happiness and development:

1. Know what’s important to YOU

Math Monkey may produce the human calculators, while Shichida may churn out the baby geniuses, but is that what you really want? Don’t get blinded by all the marketing hype! Sit down with your partner and make a specific list of what you BOTH expect from a childcare provider.

That way, the next time you’re hunting for “the one” and the owner brags that the kids have won awards for their toilet paper origami, you can quickly check your list to see that toilet paper origami’s not there, and save time by saying thanks but no thanks.

2. Great place, but does it suit you?

Sometimes it’s obvious you’ve found a great childcare provider. The place has a good reputation, is full of vibrant energy, and the kids are happy and learning useful skills. However, you still have to take into consideration if the “perfect childcare” is perfect for you.

You shouldn’t have to make too many sacrifices to fit it into your life, like driving 4 hours a day, spending more money than you can afford or being put on a one year waiting list. In the end, it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it, so make the right choice.

3. Do your homework

And I don’t mean just properly researching your options, like The Secret To Choosing A Good Nursery. Once you know what your options are, you have to try them out as well. Bring your child in for trial visits to see how she feels about the place.

Also, check if the childcare provider is willing to let you see how the place runs, without someone watching over you. This lets you see the place in a more natural state, in addition to giving you a good chance to talk to staff and other parents without the awkwardness of the owner standing right beside you.

While I myself feel these are the 3 most important things in choosing a childcare, you may very well disagree. Please let me know what you think in the comments section below, and share this article with your friends!

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How To Get Free Childcare And Have More Time For Yourself

Constantly on the run?

Constantly on the run?

These days, incomes are getting smaller and smaller, while expenses are getting bigger and bigger. Meanwhile, if parents aren’t busy chasing careers, they’re busy chasing kids!

Raising kids is tiring and expensive, and that’s why babysitting co-ops have been rising in popularity. Babysitting co-ops have been featured on CNN and in publications like Parenting, NewsWeek, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.

The babysitting co-op system is simple, yet effective. Basically, families in a community take turns babysitting each other’s children as a group. This is better than your typical babysitter set-up because:

  • It creates a stronger sense of community, with neighbours getting to know one another better.
  • Children make new friends. This can solve one of the main drawbacks of homeschooling, namely that of limited social interaction.
  • It’s free free free!

Specific rules will depend on each babysitting co-op, but most will be based upon a points-based system. Getting babysitting for your children will cost points, while babysitting other children will earn points.

More details about babysitting co-ops can be found in this attachment:

How To Create A Neighborhood Babysitting Cooperative

and there are even free startup kits available online.

There may already be an existing babysitting co-op in your area, ask around! Try approaching other parents at the church or childcare centre you frequent. Otherwise, it’s easy to start one up from scratch, with as few as just 3 families involved. Make sure that rules are set out in advance in black and white, as this well help avoid any misunderstandings and feelings of resentment later on.

What do you think about babysitting co-ops? Please share your thoughts, and don’t forget to bookmark this site and share it with others by clicking the bar below!

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The Top 3 Pros And Cons Of Daycare Centres

Daycare, yes or no?

Daycare, yes or no?

There are many childcare options available, for example daycare centres, home daycares, nanny care, preschool, relative care and stay-at-home-parenting. Here’s a list of The Top 3 Pros And Cons Of Daycare Centres, which I hope will help you decide if daycare centres are for you. Let me know what you think!


  • Better qualified staff. Childcare staff normally hold qualifications in childcare and/or first aid, in addition to having years of experience. This enables them to better care for your child’s needs, keeping him/her happy while also nurturing growth and development.
  • Structured learning environment. A good daycare centre will provide a proper curriculum for your child. Methods vary from daycare to daycare, but should include age appropriate activities like baby signing, sand-play, finger-painting, etc. These activities are designed to fully engage your child in a manner that will encourage growth and development while also enabling him/her to simply have fun.
  • Opportunities to socialise. One of the key benefits of daycare centres compared to options like relative care and stay-at-home-parenting is the chance for your child to mix with other children and adults. Social interaction can be very enjoyable for your child, while also helping develop communication skills, confidence and a sense of self. It’s also very heartwarming to witness your child sharing something or comforting another child who is upset.


  • No one-to-one attention. Daycare centres will assign each member of staff to several children. Unsurprisingly, there is research which suggests that a one-to-one environment is better for very young children. As children get older, the staff to children ratio generally increases (for example Math Monkey sets a maximum ratio of 1:6), but you should always favour daycare centres that keep their staff to children ratio as low as possible.
  • Many many many germs! Daycare centres can be a great place for germs to breed. Despite various precautions, illnesses will commonly spread among children and even staff members. Furthermore, few daycare centres will provide special care for sick children.
  • Picking up bad habits. Young children will imitate almost everything they see or hear. As such, you can look forward to your child bringing home delightful habits such as biting, throwing objects and being disruptive for the sake of attention. In the worst case scenario, left unchecked these challenging behaviours could turn into a child behaviour problem!

How do you feel about daycare? Know anybody who sends their kids to daycare? Ask them what they think! Unfortunately, sometimes both parents have to work, making daycare a necessity rather than an option.

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