Who Is Looking After The Childcare Practitioner?

In our current society, childcare needs has become almost 24 hours with nurseries all around the country opening much early in the mornings and closing much later at night. The demand of parents on nurseries, especially private nurseries, is to open as early as possible in the mornings and close as late as possible in the evenings. This is not whole down to the parents but due of work demands and making a living, this type of request cannot be avoided.

Having this in mind, my question is Who Is Looking After The Childcare Practitioners? I visited a community hall to use for private hire and at about 7.15pm when I allowed into the hall I noticed the nursery workers were still tidying up and cleaning the space. Being a keen childcare professional, I asked questions about the nursery using the space.  The caretaker of the centre indicated that the nursery started at about 6.45am and left the venue at about 7.30pm. She also indicated the nursery staff had to tidy up all the toys and resources used within the nursery environment daily. I first thought, WOW, what dedicated staff but I later thought, how tiring for the nursery staff to have to do this 5 times a day. I thought this is not the best way to have childcare practitioner working long hours on a daily basis. I can understand childminders providing this service to parents in a domestic premise but having a private nursery seem un-healthy for the childcare practitioners.

It seem to me that childcare practitioners health and well being are not being thought of and which seem to me the reason why most nursery have a high level of sick staff and use agencies a lot. Nursery workers are been used and are paid a little as possible for the amount of work they do. This is why I support the CWDC (Children Workforce Developmental Council) in making the childcare profession a professional level and having practitioners having an early childhood studies degree or a professional status qualification. Through this process early years practitioners will be able to demand more from their employers both in salary and timing.

To help create a better work environment for your nursery staff or practitioners here are some tips:

  • Have a shift pattern if your nursery start early and close late.
  • Provide training facilities for ALL staff.
  • Rather than have the nursery manager do all the administrative work, get an admin staff.
  • Create a working environment where early years staff can express their concerns and issues.
  • Acknowledge and prise you staff for the good work they do. Everyone needs positive affirmation, even early years staff.
  • In working in partnership and meeting parents need, nurseries do not have to close late. Parents will understand and can plan alternate work routines.
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