Stages of Daycare
STAGE 1: “JUST A MOM AT HOME” Many providers begin taking care of other people’s children as an extension of their own parenting role. They usually do not think of this activity as a job, let alone a profession, nor do they feel they need any kind of training. They are isolated from others in their line of work and seldom realize that family childcare is widespread. Typically they say, “I know how to take care of kids, I don’t need any training.”
STAGE 2: “THE NEW PROVIDER” Sooner or later, informal care givers find out about licensing and record keeping requirements. Their first contact with the profession might be through an early childhood conference, a provider neighbor or local resource and referral agency. Many spend more respond to such personal “word of mouth” contact than some more impersonal approach such as a newspaper article or brochure. As they enter this professional world, they may feel less confident than they did earlier, occasionally feeling inadequate. Yet this is progress, because they are ready to learn more about caring for children. At this level, the provider might typically say: “There’s a lot to learn (a complex knowledge base) for this work.”
STAGE 3: “THE INTENTIONAL PROVIDER” When providers reach this stage of their work, they begin to identify themselves as a child care professional and small business owners. They start to take responsibility for their own professional development-becoming regulated, reporting their income to the IRS, taking training, joining a provider association of their affiliate of the Association for the Education of Young Children, and/or reading about child development and early childhood education. They typically say, “This is a real career choice, and I am learning how to do it so well.”
STAGE 4: “LEADER/MENTOR” When they begin to feel competent in their work, providers often feel ready to take on leadership roles in their field. They may help new providers get started, offer workshops at conferences, join advocacy efforts, or take a job as a trainer, Food Program monitor, a resource and referral agency staff member. Typically they say, “I want to improve my profession and to help bring others along.”
Providers, regardless of what stage you are in, appreciate and learn from each stage. Day by day, month by month, and year by year, you will learn the necessary skills from hands on experience and by attending early childhood classes and conferences. Never give up on trying to achieve being the best in your profession. Children are our future and they depend on us unconditionally.