Childcare work placement is a necessary component to obtaining a childcare qualification. In many ways childcare placement can be likened to work experience that you may have been involved in while in high school.
Of course, a major component of obtaining your childcare qualification is the learning component but it will be necessary to put that learning into practice in a childcare placement.
Student placements in childcare are always going to work out better when planned for well in advance. It’s important to realise that many institutions prebook placements for students, which may make it difficult to locate a centre with a placement vacancy.
If you have to organise your own childcare work placement, it is advisable to get in touch with the directors of childcare centres in your local area. Ask if they take student placement in childcare and if so, make an appointment to meet the director. Do not be surprised that some childcare centres do not have places available. The important thing is to realise this is no reflection upon you. Move on and seek a childcare placement elsewhere.
Once you’ve arranged your childcare work placement it is a good idea to arrange to visit the childcare centre. Use this opportunity to meet staff, familiarise yourself with the centre and gain an understanding of what your duties will be throughout your work placement. It’s a great way to put the nerves to rest and gain some familiarity with the centre and people you will be working with.
It is also helpful to provide the childcare centre with a brief summary about yourself as an educator on placement. The summary could also include an up-to-date photo of yourself which can be displayed in the area that you will be working in. The summary should introduce you to families and other childcare community members and include some basic information such as:
Approximately a week prior to commencing your work placement, confirm your work placement and take the opportunity to raise any last minute questions or concerns that may have arisen.
While you are on child care work placement you can be expected to be treated as a team member and you will be supported and mentored throughout your stay. As you are on work placement you will always have another staff member with you. You are supernumerary and will not be expected to operate alone.
Sufficient time should be allowed for you to complete any tasks and/or assignments that you may have. Discussion with the team leader is recommended prior to commencing tasks that will require some planning.
At some time during your placement, an assessor from your course institution will call upon you to assess how you perform your practical tasks.
One of the key things to remember is that everyone at the centre will be aware that you are working as an early learning placement and will give you every assistance.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your childcare work experience placements.
Communication, consideration and cooperation are the keys to building solid connections with both staff and families. Listen to other staff. Welcome parents with a warm smile. Be prepared to use your initiative within reason. Communicate with parents about what their children have been doing during the day, but direct any questions or concerns about the child to the team leader.
Maintaining a positive attitude about your childcare work placement is simply a matter of paying attention to the details that would be expected of any professional. Use appropriate language, be polite to all parties. Follow all centre policies and guidelines. How an interest in every aspect of your placement. Enjoy your time and make the most of it.
Be sure to follow any prescribed dress code and pay attention to presenting in a professional manner. This may mean keeping hair tied back and hiding any tattoos that may be inappropriate for children.
Being punctual is something people notice and appreciate. To that end, try to arrive at the centre fifteen minutes before start time. If for some reason you find yourself running late, give the centre a call and let them know. Similarly, if you are ill call the centre director and tell them directly why you will not be attending.
Familiarise yourself with all health and centre procedures. Adopt good hygiene practices like washing hands after activities, using gloves where appropriate and cleaning up spillages.
Once your practical childcare work placement has been completed, you should ask to discuss your performance with the centre director or your immediate supervisor. The feedback that they can give you about your performance in a variety of situations can be invaluable as it will not only highlight your strengths but give you an insight into the areas that you can work to improve on.
The hands-on experience of working in childcare will also give you a great insight as to whether this is a field that you want to pursue further. Some will find the experience fulfilling and exciting and they will probably want to seek opportunities to work in the industry as soon as possible. Others may not be so sure and may need time to consider if a career in childcare is indeed the right option.
The good news is that there is an ongoing need for early childhood educators within our society. Many people find working with children to be an incredibly fulfilling career choice. Child care work placement gives you the chance to get real experience working in childcare.