Last week, I was assigned to a centre on the way to Chatswood for a week block to work with pre-schoolers (3-5 yrs) and toddlers (2-3yrs). The centre was further away from the city, so the staff were mostly Anglo-Australian locals. This week, I was assigned to a centre in North Sydney. So far, I realised that the childcare centres which are nearer to the city have more multi-cultural staff compared to those which are further away. I would say this is how most cities are like anyways.
For the past two days, I have worked with babies (0-2 years) group in the nursery. Compared to the toddler age group I have worked with last week, babies are much more dependent on adults than toddlers are. Adults have to do everything from feeding, cleaning, and changing their nappies. Because babies can only babble, adults have to rely heavily on non-verbal as well as verbal clues given by the babies in order to meet their needs.
When babies cry, it could sound like a happy bubbly laugh, a whimpering, or plain loud crying! The two main contact persons in the centre are a trained Montessori lady from India, & the other a local-Aussie girl who is just completing her Cert III.
Yup, for the past two days, I have been changing nappies for babies! I don't know how I managed to go through so many weeks without ever having to change nappies, but I did not manage to escape this week! In the past two days, I must have changed nappies like 15 times in day, from the whole routine of putting on gloves, lining the bed with napkins, changing poo-filled nappies & disinfecting the beds to clearing out bags full of smelly, stinky nappies! Phew..!
I also understood more about the (NSW DoCS (Dept. of Community Services) requirements today. The director that is in charge of the centre I am assigned to this week is actually in charge of another centre I was assigned to a couple of weeks back!
Apparently the reason why I had been contracted to the centres in the past two weeks is because of the DoCS requirements that if the centre has more than about 39, or 59 children they need to adhere to Clause 52 whereby they are required to have a "teaching staff" to commensurate with the ratio for this amount.
1) Clause 52:The director also asked me to bring a copy of my qualification based on :
a) has a degree/ diploma in early childhood education from a university following a course with a duration (on a full-time basis) of not less than 3 years, or
(b) has some other approved qualification, or
(c) has other approved training and other approved experience.
Clause 93:(4) The records kept under this clause in relation to any person must be signed by the person.
1) Centre based and mobile children’s services
The licensee of a centre based or mobile children’s service must ensure that the following records are made and kept up to date in relation to each member of staff of the service:
(a) a copy of any relevant qualification held by the member,
(b) a copy of any first aid qualification held by the member,
(c) any other particulars that the Director-General requires, by notice in writing served on the licensee, to be kept in relation to the member.
(2) The licensee of a centre based or mobile children’s service must ensure that records are made and kept up to date of the day to day attendance of each member of staff, casual employee or contractor of the service, including times of arrival and departure during the day and including details of all absences
(3) All children’s services: The licensee of a children’s service must ensure that records are made and kept up to date of the attendance of any visitor to the premises of the service, including times of arrival and departure.
Anyways, regardless of the requirements that an ECT is needed as per the legislation set out, candidates have to know that if the centre doesn't like the ECT who has been contracted, they may not ask that candidate to return to the centre to work again. So, work rapport & managing interpersonal skills with other staff is important aside from having the right credentials as well as qualifications.
Have fun working, kids!