Room leaders in childcare -what they do
One of the more rewarding positions available to workers in a childcare setting is that of room leader. The room leader’s position is not an easy one – as they are both an educator and leader responsible for the staff and children as well as the running of the room. Room leaders need to be knowledgeable, flexible, organised and have a suite of communication skills.
Duties of a room leader in childcare
The room leader job description may vary from childcare centre to childcare centre, however, in a broad sense they can be expected to be responsible for the following:
- Program delivery and planning in line with the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF). The programs should be appropriate for the age of the children being cared for. The aim should centre around establishing a caring play-based learning program that is both engaging and inclusive. The success of the program delivery will, in part, be due to the clear communication of the program’s objectives and philosophy. Naturally the philosophy and objectives should align with the childhood centres.
- Task assignment – daily activities will need to be managed and organised. This will necessitate the room leader delegating tasks and duties to other staff members who work in the room. Task assignment may also involve consulting with team members to ensure that the room is kept in a safe, clean condition and that care of children is placed first and foremost in all decision making.
Other specific room leader childcare duties in childcare may include:
- General supervision, guidance and support of all people working within the room – this may include staff, students and volunteers.
- Mentoring students and providing feedback in both written and verbal forms to encourage reflective learning.
- Adherence to OH&S policies with a view to providing a safe, secure environment for staff and children alike. Appropriate arrangements will be made for children susceptible to conditions like anaphylaxis, asthma and various allergies that they may suffer.
- Accurate record keeping pertaining to any accident, incident, injury, illness or medication.
- Ensure staff are educated about the latest initiatives and thinking in early childhood education.
- Ongoing liaison with families relating to daily occurrences.
- To create a positive working atmosphere among all staff.
- Encouragement of parental involvement in the childcare program.
- Maintenance of records pertaining to observations of individual children’s progress.
Qualities of a Room Leader in Childcare
Room leader childcare is a position that demands a variety of soft skills as well as a thorough working knowledge of the EYLF. As in all leadership positions, it is the soft skills that help room leaders need to master in order to be effective.
These soft skills include:
- Well-rounded communication skills that cover a wide range of scenarios and ages. The room leader will be called upon at various times to clearly communicate with children, staff and parents. A range of nuanced styles will be required, ranging from encouragement of staff and children, to setting expectations for and providing feedback to staff to informing parents of their child’s progress.
- Sharp organisational skills that will involve planning, organising and responding to situations as they arise.
Decisive but considered delegation skills. It is absolutely imperative that delegated duties be rotated wherever possible, so that everyone gets an opportunity to do the good and not so good jobs.
- Positive relationship skills that allow the room leader to build trust and respect with all stakeholders, be they children, families or staff.
How to Become a Room Leader in Childcare
If the room leader job description seems like something that you would like to do, you will need to meet some qualification criteria. There are some prescribed courses that will equip you with the necessary qualifications. The most commonly accepted qualification is the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care.
The diploma is recognised nationally and usually takes between 12 and 18 months to complete. The diploma does involve completing a practical placement that gives you the practical experience and skills to confidently move into this role.
There are many opportunities to undertake the diploma through online learning platforms. These platforms give you the flexibility to structure your learning around your lifestyle.