Careers in Child care

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Looking for a career in Child Care

If helping children to develop socially and intellectually whilst caring for their needs appeals to you, then being a child care worker might be an ideal choice.

There are currently around 8,400 children’s care workers employed in South Australia. Over half are employed part-time and most work in the health and community services industry. Most persons in this occupation are female and most are employed in the Adelaide metropolitan area. This occupation has a younger age profile with only around a third of workers aged 45 years or older.

Employment requirements

Child care workers provide daily care for children. As well as caring for children’s physical needs, child care workers encourage social interaction and stimulate children’s problem solving and intellectual skills. The experiences they provide may also help children to develop their fine motor and gross motor coordination.

As a child care worker, one of your major roles will be to develop relationships with children to identify their abilities and interests. This will enable you to plan and create an environment and experiences which will allow children to develop and enjoy life whilst feeling safe and secure. In addition, effective child care workers are able to provide spontaneous responses to children’s needs and changing circumstances.

To be a qualified children’s services professional you need to have a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care as a minimum if employed in a child care centre.

To be qualified in Out of School Hours Care you need to have a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care or a Diploma of School Age Education and Care. Some recreation and leisure qualifications may also be recognised as a minimum requirement to be employed as a qualified worker in Out of School Hours Care.

TAFE SA offers the following courses that may assist in finding employment in this occupation; a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care; Certificate IV in School Age Education and Care; Diploma of School Age Education and Care and a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care.

Courses at our local TAFE

Certificate III and Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care

Depending on the setting, child care workers may work with children aged 6 weeks to 12 years in long day care, occasional care, out of school hours care, vacation care, family day care and home care, as well as in hospitals or women’s shelters.

In the next five years, it is anticipated that there will be a continued rapid growth in the number of child care and out of school hours care services and, therefore, there will be a continued demand for fully qualified child care workers as well as quality workers with certificate level training.

Certificate III trained workers may take up further study in the Diploma to become fully qualified and, therefore, be eligible to become a team leader in early childhood settings. Qualified child care professionals with sufficient experience and skills who have an interest in administration, may progress to the position of director. A director’s position may include continued work with children or focus wholly on administration depending on factors such as the size and philosophy of the centre.

Qualified workers may choose to undertake university studies in early childhood education or other education pathways and may receive some credit in these courses for their diploma studies.

Qualified Out of School Hours Care professionals may choose to undertake further study in recreation and leisure or university studies in education, such as primary education, and may receive some credit for their diploma studies.

An essential part of the job is to develop positive relationships with children and their families to ensure emotional wellbeing and security for the children involved. The work can be physically and intellectually challenging, but also very rewarding. Generally, child care workers work in a team environment and enjoy supporting each other to achieve group and individual goals and objectives. Whilst there is a general routine that helps children to determine what to anticipate next, there is opportunity to participate in a wide range of tasks whilst interacting with children and adults throughout the day. Certificate III level workers work under the supervision of qualified workers and the responsibilities of individual workers depend on their level of training.
Child care workers regularly work inside and outside on a daily basis in order to interact effectively with children and to supervise to ensure a safe environment.

Child care centres, occasional care centres and out of schools hours care facilities may be purpose built to cater for a small group of about 20 children or for large groups which may exceed 100 children who are divided into smaller groups. Some facilities are renovated buildings such as homes, school class rooms or neighbourhood centres. In some circumstances where small numbers of children are concerned, the work setting may be a person’s home.

Outdoor areas are usually designed to be flexible and adaptable to accommodate a variety of experiences in a safe manner.

Child care workers’ duties and hours of work vary and they are often required to do shift work. Child care workers often share basic tasks and work in teams. They spend long periods on their feet and often have to lift and carry children and move equipment.

They need to be alert, observant, active and able to use judgment and initiative. They also must be willing to accept responsibility. It is essential that they are able to work as part of a team and able to relate well to children and their parents.