By Anne Merchant, Author The Child Care Textbook and of Teacher’s College for Professional Development
We have heard about a new nanny training program this week (see last two posts). We agree that further education is a win-win scenario for childcare providers, parents, and children.
Research confirms what we all intuitively understand: that superior training and education results in nannies that provide superior childcare.
It is estimated that in 12 million households both parents work full-time. This fact has caused a shortage of qualified early childhood caregivers.
Research confirms that the education level achieved by a caregiver has a direct and positive impact on America's future economic strength. A high level of education and training is what differentiates a professional nanny from a long-term, full-time babysitter.
The highly educated nanny is rewarded by commanding a higher wage and better benefits. The children benefit by blossoming in a safe and secure environment. Parents benefit from a well-educated nanny because they have peace-of-mind and pleasure as their children prosper from proper care. A highly trained and educated nanny is a win-win-win scenario.
Sub-standard childcare seems to have become the norm rather than the exception. Research shows that custodial care (care that merely keeps children safe, warm, and fed) is sub-standard care that does not consistently include planned age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate social, physical, cognitive, and psychological care.
The demands of career has forced many parents to accept the easiest, not the best, choice of caregiver. The low pay at daycare centers leads to frequent turnover. Au pairs are often hired sight unseen and are often lack childcare training or experience. Many nannies are hired from advertisements online or in newspapers without proper screening, leading to sub-standard childcare.
Sub-standard childcare is not limited to the economically disadvantaged. Many children born into wealthy families do not succeed as well as children from underprivileged families. Sub-standard care is directly related to the lack of caregiver education. Early childhood education is cited in all recent research as being an essential factor in quality child care.
For example, the 1994 Carnegie Task Force report, Starting Points: Meeting the Needs of our Youngest Children states, "Research shows that [childcare] training is an effective strategy for improving quality, particularly if training initiatives are linked to career development, with trainees receiving credit towards associate and bachelors degrees."
Therefore, it is in the best interest of nannies to be able to provide quality care by continually growing personally and professionally by attending nanny training and early childhood education courses and programs.
Children cared for by educated caregivers have better language skills, score higher in school readiness tests, have better social skills, fewer behavioral problems, and are more likely to become literate, gainfully employed, and enrolled in college, (Reynolds, Temple, Robertson, and Mann).
Gone are the days when experts believed that all infants and toddlers needed was someone to nurture them. As important as it is to cuddle and love children, if children are to grow to their full potential they must also receive developmentally appropriate cognitive, social, physical, and emotional stimulation.
There are nanny training programs in the United States, Great Britain, Australia, India and other countries. Generally nanny training programs include courses about child development, nutrition, health and safety, discipline, and supervised time working with children. There are a large number of certificate, associate, and bachelor degree courses in early childhood education in county colleges, vocational schools, and private colleges throughout the United States. There are also graduate programs in child development available for nannies who have already earned their bachelor degree.
Ask nanny training and early childhood education programs the same questions:
1. What specific courses does the nanny program curriculum include?
2. Is the program accredited by a federally approved accrediting body?
3. What are the costs?
4. What are the admission requirements?
5. Are credits transferable to another school or program?
If you work as a nanny have you acquired a higher education degree? What are your thoughts on the topic?