how to become a daycare teacher
Who Is A Daycare Worker?
A daycare worker, also known as a childcare provider, provides basic care for children when their parents or guardians are absent. Daycare workers oversee the well-being of children. Duties usually involve enforcing schedules like feeding, playtime, nap time, and cleaning.
The daycare provider contributes the building blocks for children’s intellectual, physical, and social growth. On a larger scale, the childcare worker plays an essential role in the development of society as they help establish routines and habits which strengthen higher levels of learning.
Additionally, daycare workers expose babies and toddlers to simple concepts through play and reading aloud to them. For instance, they can introduce children to the idea of sharing via games that include taking turns.
Duties Of A Daycare Worker
A daycare worker attends to the needs of toddlers and infants. The role goes beyond just preparing meals and changing diapers. They also set or maintain an already established schedule for children. Some of the everyday duties of a daycare worker include:
- Preparing meals and scheduling snacks and mealtimes for children
- Maintaining good hygiene practices with children
- Organizing fun activities
- Create routines and schedules that foster growth and stability for children
- Record children’s routines, interests, and progress
- Observe any developmental or emotional problems and report them to the parents
- Ensure the safety of every child under their custody
- Nurture the children’s interests
Steps To Become A Daycare Worker
There is no hard and fast career path to become a daycare worker. The training and education requirements largely depend on the state, employer, and setting. Notwithstanding, we have curated an all-encompassing guide on the steps you need to become a daycare provider.
- Certification and/or Licensing
- Work Experience
Education for Daycare Providers
In some states, to qualify as a childcare worker, you must possess at least a high school diploma. In other states, there are no requirements for entry-level roles. However, to be on the safe side, a high school diploma can make you more competitive among other candidates. With that in mind, a daycare worker with an early childhood education certificate or a post-secondary education is more likely to be considered for higher-level roles.
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While not required, a Bachelor of Science degree in fields such as psychology, education, or family and consumer sciences can further your career.
Certification and/or Licensure
In most states, you need a license to operate a daycare center, including in private homes. Staff must possess comprehensive immunization records, pass a background check, and attain the minimum training requirement set by the state to gain this license. Some states require a certificate in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Occasionally, employers require daycare workers to possess a certification that is recognized nationwide. The most commonly recognized national credential is the Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate.
The Council for Professional Development awards the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. It is one of the most widely recognized credentials among early childhood education professionals. A CDA certificate shows you have the needed knowledge of best practices to instruct and care for young children.
Alternatively, you can obtain accreditation from other bodies such as the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC).
Training for Daycare Workers
To keep abreast of the latest trends and best practices for daycare workers, you need to engage in training on a regular basis. Training increases your chances of landing lucrative jobs as well as sharpens your skills for the health and safety of the children under your care. Parents and staffing agencies will trust your abilities over your contemporaries who do not have training.
Some areas that require updated knowledge through ongoing training include safety, discipline, activity planning.
Safety is essential, especially when dealing with babies, toddlers, and young children. Updated safety methods can help you properly safeguard the children entrusted to you. It is vital to learn CPR and first aid before you begin as a daycare provider. Other safety training includes sanitation, emergencies, and escape plans.
One of the most challenging issues for daycare workers is discipline. When children are placed together in the same environment, there is the tendency that they will fight, bite, hit or argue amongst themselves. Some children might even have a hard time following instructions. Training to learn how to handle such issues can provide you with vital classroom management skills that will help minimize disruptions.
Activity planning training sessions can familiarize daycare workers with the essentials of organizing schedules and activities to help young children develop skills. These training sessions teach how to manage activities and reveal the benefits of different games or lessons. Additionally, it is important to learn the milestones for different age ranges and what skills to work on at a specific stage of growth and development.
Before you dive into applying for an actual daycare job, volunteering with children can give you real-world experience and an edge in your job search. You can offer to babysit for family and friends for an hourly rate or for free. Such experience allows you to work with children in different age ranges and can help you decide which group you are most comfortable working with.
Alternatively, you can volunteer at a summer camp, after-school programs, non-profits, or local churches. Such experience allows you to work with groups of children and observe the role of professionals in this field.
Types Of Daycare Workers
You might be interested in pursuing a career in daycare and would love to know what positions are available. Below is a breakdown of some of the more common roles of daycare workers.
A preschool teacher requires strong communication skills. Instruction in reading, writing, and science is a top priority. Additionally, a preschool teacher supervises teachers’ assistants and prepares children’s activities. The minimum requirement for a preschool teacher is a high school diploma. However, some states require a certificate in early childhood education and a college degree.