Thinking about a job in childcare?
Do you love the time you spend with little ones and have thought about working with children, but you don’t know where to start?
Try doing something you love for a living and take your first steps to a job in childcare with a childminder or nursery. Try taster days, work experience, childcare apprenticeships or become a childminding assistant.
You can read Kim's story, as she talks about her experience as she starts her training to become a childminder.
Here are some first steps to take to help you decide if a job in childcare is a good fit for you:
Talk to people who already work in childcare
Nurseries, pre-schools and childminders are used to visitors asking questions and when you're looking around childcare settings for your 2-year-old, you can also ask about how they got started, and whether there is any training they'd recommend. Toddler groups, playgrounds and soft play centres are also great places to meet childminders and nannies.
You might find your local authority or adult education college offers taster days on working with children. They are good places to ask questions too.
'First Steps to Childminding' Facebook page
Join our Facebook group! The aim of this group is to be a supportive space and network for people wishing to become childminders; newly registered childminders; and those undertaking their pre-registration training. More experienced childminders are welcome to share ideas and encouragement, but the main focus group is to support and guide new people to become registered childminders. Find out more about First Steps to Childminding today and join the community.
You don't need to be at school to do work experience. Once you’ve found somewhere you’d really like to work, use the time when your 2-year-old is at childcare to offer to do work experience there for a few sessions to see what it’s like. While you’re there, ask about the best way to get started working in childcare. If you enjoy it, keep in touch in case any vacancies come up.
Apprenticeships combine practical training in a job with study. They are not just for teenagers and can be a good way of getting paid while you gain the qualifications you need to work with children. There are lots of childcare apprenticeships advertised, but even if you don’t see a vacancy, the employer you want to work with can take you on as an apprentice with support from the local authority. Childminders can take on apprentices too.
Become a childminding assistant
Working with a childminder can be an ideal introduction to working with children as you get their one-to-one support, a comfortable home setting and a small group of children. You can even bring your funded 2-year-old to work with you as long as they aren’t also related to the childminder.
Childminders are well qualified childcare professionals who work with the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS in England) and will be able to help you take things one step at a time. You will need to take first aid training, have a DBS check and learn about child development, safeguarding and the EYFS. But the childminder will be able to point you in the right direction for what you need to do.
Even though there are some things you need to do for a job in childcare to keep the children safe and help them develop well, every day is different, and often fun and rewarding! You could be preparing snacks, playing in a sandpit, cutting and sticking, or joining in with a group singing session. How many jobs can you say that about?
You can find more information about becoming a childminding assistant here.
Childcare on Domestic Premises
If you have decided that you want to grow your business, one option to increase the number of places you can offer to children in England is to covert your childminding registration to childcare on domestic premises (CoDP). You can find more information about Childcare on Domestic Premises here.