Child care worker

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Renee, 20s

How did you get into child care?

A genuine love of children and good intuition are two ingredients needed to become a child care worker, according to Renee, a child care worker at OneWorld for Children.

Renee started off working in retail, but when a friend told her about a position going in the local child care centre, she jumped at the opportunity.

To work in child care was Renee's high school dream, and so far, she hasn't been disappointed. "I really enjoy my work. There's never a dull moment."

What does a child care worker do?

Renee describes the work as varied and quite amusing at times.

Her role as a child care worker involves preparing morning teas, lunches and afternoon teas; cleaning; changing nappies; setting up and engaging the children in a number of activities, such as drawing, playing outside, singing songs, or reading stories.

While the day-to-day role doesn't change much, there are always things to keep you busy and on your feet.

Renee adds, "I love all the hugs and kisses that the children so generously give me. And it's so wonderful when the kids learn your name and use it for the first time."

What is the best thing about your job?

Having the chance to contribute to and observe a child's development is also something that Renee finds extremely rewarding. "Being there to watch a child taking his/her first steps or even eating on their own is incredibly amazing."

And the worst?

Being a child care worker isn't always all fun and games, Renee cautions. "The job can be really stressful at times when the children won't listen or when they get aggressive and hurt each other. While I love having the kids, I love giving them back!"

Further, Renee says that while a lot of people associate child care with just playing games with children, that's not the entire picture. "It's more about teaching, protecting, cleaning, watching, and playing. Plus, there's a lot of behind-the-scenes paperwork that needs to be kept current. We have to keep accident records, monitor allergies, nappy changes and medications, and this is on top of the constant monitoring of the children's behaviours and their eating and sleeping patterns."

What career opportunities are there?

Renee sees the potential for progression from this line of work as endless, and says that child care workers can move into the areas of nannying, working with learning impaired children, and even personal care.

Finally, Renee advises that child care work is definitely worthwhile if you love kids like she does, but she suggests that when it gets stressful you need to remember to breathe and stay calm!

Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (new window) (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).