Wednesday

Questions About Gaining Childcare Experience

Received Wednesday, July 7, 2010
perspective and opinion I have a question for the community: How did you first gain experience with infants and toddlers? I have only worked with older kids, and I am stuck now because I can't find a paid position with babies that will take someone without experience. I would like to get Early Education Certification, which is what many jobs in daycares require -- but in order to get that, you need experience! I can't afford to volunteer 12+ hours a week for the next 6 months. Would it be strange to offer on craigslist to be a low-paid or unpaid mother's helper so I can learn how to watch a baby, in exchange for a reference or future job? Or is volunteering my only option? (Also, I know NOBODY who has a baby, so I can't just ask a friend to watch their kid or anything.)

20 comments:

b said...

You do not need a degree in Early Childhood Ed. to work in a daycare as a Teacher's Assistant. Usually all you need is some childcare experience and a high school diploma. If you have no experience with infants and toddlers, you cannot expect to get a lead position as an infant or toddler teacher.

You will make at least 8 dollars an hour if you worked as an assistant in a childcare center. Don't be a mother's helper. Work at a childcare center where they will be a good reference to you. They will probably train you in infant CPR, and give you professional development workshops as well.

Nicole said...

My first childcare job was with an infant and a toddler as a mothers helper. I was in high school at the time but if you´re older I don´t see why you couldn´t do the same. I would go for between $8 - $10/hr and work for a mom who has several young children. It will be a great learning experience as well as a great reference!

b said...

Nicole,

I have to disagree. It is always better to get your start at an accredited center or school. It looks much more professional on a resume if you are a part of a classroom than if you are a babysitter.

ChiNanny said...

b - While that may look better, it's not always an option. Right now it can be really hard to get those jobs without experience. Too many out of work teachers and such that are going for the same jobs. Working at a daycare center is great, but not the only option.

chgonanny said...

I think both ideas are great, and depending on your personality, one will probably work better than the other.

I've got a degree in Early Childhood, although I pretty much only had experience with kids over the age of 2. But I was hired as a nanny for three kids, one of which was an infant because I was so good with the older ones.

nannnnny said...

I agree with b- if you can find a job at an infant-toddler center, go for it. That will give you experience working with a whole group of infants and/or toddlers, which is going to be more valuable than working with one.
Barring that, I would look for a mom with infant twins, maybe with a toddler thrown in the mix. Just saying, as an ideal, because obviously the job market is not great right now.

re-post said...

Just be patient. All my experience from teaching and nannying was with 5-10 year olds when I suddenly landed a job with a newborn. My bosses were young, first-time parents and once I told them I believed I could handle it, they hired me because they wanted someone on their level who would learn about babies WITH them instead of a more experienced woman who would tell them what to do or constantly compare him to other kids.

Jul 7, 2010 11:18:00 AM

OP said...

OP here. The thing is, I have NEVER seen a childcare job that doesn't require previous experience if working with infants. I live in Massachusetts, and every daycare job I've seen here requires Early Education Certification at the least, which you can only get if you have 6 months supervised (paid or volunteer) experience with infants/toddlers. So I was just wondering if there is an option that I might be overlooking, or if posting a craigslist ad would be okay.

Nanny Sarah said...

OP, just try to keep looking on CL. If I were you, I would be honest and upfront and let people know you do not have personal infant experience, but would love to learn! Also, I would offer to work as a mother's helper (that way you can learn while you work) or a regular nanny/sitter. Just know that you will probably have to work below the going rate for a nanny/sitter, but the experience you gain will be priceless. Good Luck.

nc said...

I agree with what others have said. You can also look into volunteering in a church nursery on Sunday's.

Bostonnanny said...

Op I live in Boston and work as a infant toddler nanny. From what I hear, you can work at a daycare if you have at least one college course in either child development or psych. Have you been to college? How long have you been a nanny? Have you tried home based daycares? They pay less but you can gain experience. I also feel like in Boston more families are looking for educated and experienced nannies. They would prefer someone who has been a nanny before, rather then someone who has worked in a daycare. One more thing, do you have the knowledge to care for a newborn? It may seem easy but there are a lot of risks. For example my current charge had a febrile seizure in his crib during his nap. Would you know how to spot it and no what to do? Also caring for a sick infant is a lot different then a toddler. Parents need to know that you have the knowledge and experience to handle a crazy situation. You best bet would be take one course, apply for a nanny position in which the family works from home and read up on everything infant related.
By the way, why do you want to work with an infant so bad

Bostonnanny said...

If you go to a community college and take two semesters in early childhood development you can get a job in a daycare as a lead teacher, it's actually called a early childhood development certificate. Then you work for 6months at a daycare and apply for ECE. With no experience infants and toddlers and I'm assuming no college education related to the field, it's going to be nearly impossible to find a nanny position in Boston. Your up against teachers, nannies with years of experience and even recent college grads.

bethany1699 said...

I gained experience while working in the church nursery. From that I started as a mothers helper for friends of my parents. All this was when I was 11 & 12.

Laura said...

I started babysitting when I was 12 and by the time I was 14 was mostly working with families with infants and toddlers. It helped that I am the oldest of 5 and had a lot of experience with siblings - my youngest sister was born when I was 14, so parents knew that I had experience with newborns!

Honestly, the way I got my experience was by walking up to moms with babies and introducing myself as a babysitter. This worked when I was 13 (I *ran* to catch up with one mom that I spotted out the window, once) and when I was a 21-year-old graduate student looking for some work on the side. I'd introduce myself and chat with mom and pass on my number. If I had part-time work, I'd chat with moms of similar-aged kids on the playground and if I had availability pass on my number there, too. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there.

Stay-At-Home Auntie said...

I definitely suggest looking in to a job at a GOOD daycare (for example, NAEYC accreditation is a good sign) + let them know that you are especially looking for experience with infants + toddlers. You would most likely get hired as an assistant, + usually assistants with the least experience are placed in infant/ toddler classrooms as there are usually more teachers in the room, so you have more people to help guide you. A huge benefit to learning in a daycare (again, I stress that it be a high quality daycare!) is that you are dealing with multiple children from multiple families- they will each have their own little quirks, + the parents will also, so you will learn how to handle alot of differant situations + how to communicate effectively with a larger variety of people. I babysat through high school, then worked as an assistant at a daycare (starting with infants!), was eventually bumped up to head teacher. By 21, I was in charge of two classrooms of children (ages 6 weeks- 20 months) + had 8 assistants under me. That experience definitely helped me- especially now that I'm home with my niece.

Katlee85 said...

As a mom, I can tell you that if you don't have experience with infants, DO NOT attempt to take a job with multiple infants despite what Nannnny said.

You will become overwhelmed and that's not a good thing. Start small, do you have friends or family with infants? If so, start there. Offer to babysit for friends and family a few times first, to get experience. Or as one poster recommended, try a church nursery you can volunteer in. It's not much but it does give you experience.

keep looking said...

OP, you are mistaken. You can start off by subbing in a childcare center, and especially because it is summer, you will get hours. You do not need a degree in early childhood education to get a job working with infants and toddlers.

I am from Massachusetts and you really need to look further into it. Obviously you are not looking in the right places and/or are not trying hard enough.

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