A childcare job is any job that involves looking after children, whether it is in your own home, at a child’s own home, or at a childcare facility.
Different types of childcare jobs
Childcare presents you with a broad range of career opportunities: some jobs require you to provide basic care and supervision, while other jobs require you to provide an educational environment that is focused on stimulating childhood development. Here are a few examples of the different types of jobs that are available:
- Aftercare Assistant
- Aftercare Teacher
- Au Pair
- Crèche Assistant
- ECD Centre Manager
- ECD Practitioner
- Playschool Teacher
- Pre-school Teacher
What skills will I need to work in childcare?
Working with children requires a special set of skills. In addition to being passionate about working with children, you need to:
- Be able to communicate with children in a manner that they are able to understand.
- Be loving and caring.
- Be friendly.
- Be patient.
- Be physically able to look after children.
- Be able to identify developmental problems in children.
- Be able to administer first aid in case of an emergency.
- Be a problem-solver, and be able to think on your feet.
- Be good at time management.
- Be flexible and adaptable to change.
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Be able to handle conflict.
- Be able to remain calm in stressful situations.
Also remember that, when you work in childcare, you will not only be working with children, but also with their parents. This means that you will need strong interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to see a situation from more than one point of view.
How can I prepare for a career in childcare?
To work in childcare, you will need a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills. You can prepare for your career in childcare by:
- Studying a childcare course
- Working as a volunteer at a crèche, playschool, or aftercare centre.
- Looking after your nephews, nieces, or younger siblings.
- Babysitting for your friends.
Besides looking at your qualifications and training, prospective employers are going to look at how much experience you have in working with children. They are also going to look at whether you have good references from previous employers. It may therefore be a good idea to study a childcare course part-time, so that you can start gaining experience while you complete your course. It is quite possible to start out in a junior childcare job, and to work your way up from there. You could, for example, start out by working as an au pair to gain experience, and then go on to study towards a formal qualification in childcare if you decide that you want to work as a pre-school teacher or ECD practitioner.
Remember that prospective employers may run a background check to make sure that you are a fit and proper person for looking after children, and that you don’t have a criminal record for any child-related offences. You should make sure that you have a strong code of personal ethics, and that your behaviour is, at all times, in line with what people would expect from a responsible childcare worker.
To find out more about studying towards a career in childcare: click here.
Where can I look for childcare jobs?
- Register with au pair and nanny agencies.
- Register with babysitting service providers.
- Approach pre-schools, playschools, crèches and aftercare centres in your area.
- Look in the local newspapers.
- Consult your community noticeboards.
- Search online (on job listing websites).