Our members are extremely special to us and that’s why each month, we want to highlight one of our members’ extra-special achievements.
This month we spoke to Gemma Tasker, childminding member and PACEY Local Facilitator from Doncaster. Gemma recently accompanied us to a Government roundtable discussion on the Cost of Providing Childcare consultation. We were so proud of her contribution we wanted to tell you about it. Here’s a little bit more about our star member of the month…
What first inspired you to become a childcare professional?
I have always enjoyed caring for children even when I was one myself. My mum always had a house full as a childminder and I had a great childhood mixing with others. I really wanted to stay at home with my children whilst they were young and really enjoy caring for other children too.
What's changed the most since you began your career?
Since I began my career the EYFS has been introduced. I find the whole learning and development around children fascinating, and to watch a child flourish through play and activity is priceless.
Why did you choose PACEY?
I chose PACEY when it was NCMA and wanted to be a part of a network of positive people who shared the same passion as I do in working with children. I was lucky enough to be part of the team of people (National Policy Forum) who came to the decision about rebranding to PACEY. Being part of this process really makes me feel part of our professional association.
PACEY is a place where I can turn to for help and advice and most of all the friendships I have made through being a member locally and nationally.
What has been your proudest moment in your childcare career?
My proudest moment has to be when I witnessed a child play for the first time. Coming from a very deprived background and not having the opportunity to mix with other children, I saw the child’s face when they realised it was okay to play and explore. It stays with me today. People take it for granted that children just play, but to see a child come out of a closed world to be free to explore and learn is quite a spectacular thing.
Tell us more about your experience at the Cost of Providing Childcare Roundtable
I was very nervous going to the meeting but very glad I did as I found that as a childminder I wasn't at the bottom of the pile. In fact we are at the very top. Going to the meeting I learnt that the people that were there really appreciated and needed to hear my contributions and the hands-on experience that only we know.
The meeting included people from all sectors of the childcare system. I felt that my views were needed for them to realise that providing the funding places for those 2-year-olds and also 3- and 4-year-olds is not as easy to implement as it looks on paper.
They really valued my points and were taken aback when I told them I would have to turn people away or reduce the non-funded children's hours (which we all know could not happen) to provide the places they need.
What tips and advice would you give to someone looking to get into childcare?
Love what you do, believe in yourself and don't let anyone hold you back. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
Why did you become a PACEY Local Facilitator?
I started believing in myself and it’s a great way of helping people to connect with other positive childcarers. We get to meet in local areas and share updates, information and each other’s experiences. I became a PACEY Local Facilitator because I wanted to help people to reach out to a local network of people sharing the same passion.
What's your failsafe activity to enjoy with the children in your setting?
My failsafe activity has to be baking. All my children love it and gain so many learning opportunities in all areas of the EYFS. They love to be with each other, learning about ingredients, textures, mixing, weighing, and watching as the mixture turns into cakes, biscuits or savoury treats.
They also enjoy the tidying away with washing and playing with bubbles and seeing who can make the biggest one.
Then the eating comes and everyone feels happy. The chats that come from it every time are wonderful, listening to the children’s own ideas of cooking at home or in pretend play.
What's the best part about working in childcare?
I think the best part about working in childcare is when I build relationships with children and see them grow into their different personalities. This comes from the learning opportunities I provide and when they take their first steps to trust the environment around them.
Would you like to be featured as member of the month, or know someone that deserves to be featured? Email us firstname.lastname@example.org.