Maybe I was a bit too quick to judge when I wrote this initially. In retrospect, somehow I had a more different impression of Agent E after attending their staff childcare refresher workshop last week. The interactions during the workshop gave me the impression that Agent E has a really good quality support system for its employees, both casual & permanent candidates, as compared to Agent C.
Its really important that as employees, whether casual or permanent, and especially casuals, that they find an agent that has a quality support system that takes into account performance review & feedback. It is essential for an employee who is starting out on a new job to know how they have performed throughout the assignments as without knowing their weaknesses and strengths as a casual, one may lose future work opportunities due to bad feedbacks. This in return will affect the number of assignments the casual candidate could get. In other words, you get less income.
Below is listed some of the questions that one as a candidate would be asked during an interview with a casual relief childcare agency.. it may seem unfair for an unqualified staff, but if you read up on it, you might be able to answer them, even if you didn't have any experience. I applied for work with another agent recently, and was able to answer the questions posed due to my past experience and also because I had revised them recently.
The NSW Community Services states that all staff in childcare have to attend at least two refresher workshops per year. During the workshop some of these issues were covered..
* Quality Care
* Roles and Responsibilities (for the 0-2's, 2-3's and 3-5's age groups)
* Behaviour Management
* Child Protection
* NSW Childcare Regulations
Based on Centre feedback, among some of the Unsatisfactory Practices include that the casual candidate:
- did not attend to the children's needs (nappy change, crying, alone, wanted something).
- did not interact with the children
- returning late from breaks (breaks start the moment you leave the room. Staff are on a TIGHT schedule to meet things, so do your part to help relieve the burden).
- LACK of initiative, i.e if you see children alone, go to the children and observe what they are doing. Think about what you want to say & see how you could lead or encourage the direction of the play the child is involved with (not just simply muttering the first thing that comes into your mind though!)
- answering mobile phones whilst working. (a big NO-NO).
- not helping with tasks & routines. (you are being paid to go there to help out to relieve the staff's, NOT to add to their work).
Bottle Feeding: Children under 12 months should not have cow's milk. Infants 12 months and younger are not ready for it. When heating milk bottles, do not put in together with the bottle plastic teat as it will expand when heated. Some younger children may choke on it, and the staff may not realise it.
Burping: Babies 6 months and younger need to be after/during a bottle feed, as their bodies are not able to do that independently yet.
Read to an infant. Even if they may not answer you back (they are just not capable of!), they are still picking up language. When you read/talk to the infant, you may have to give an answer to it. It doesn't matter, as it is a time of bonding between the adult & infant, and the infant responds.
Learning to get their balance.
Lots of falls & bruises
Use 2-step instructions.
Use "dramatic tones" chance your voice and tone to convey your message across, or whisper.
Toddlers still understand what the adults say even though they may not yet have the language to speak yet. So the adult can still talk to the toddler, and the child will respond accordingly, especially when the adult wants the child TO NOT do something which might disturb the peace of the room.
TANTRUMS- Why? Children to no have the language to communicate.
Set up equipment according to number of the children as children of this age group are still "egocentric" & do not know how to share yet.
'Stranger fear' should develop around the time an infant is about 7-9 months. This is common for children of this age, so it is common that infants are afraid of new casuals that they meet for the first time. So it should be that when there is a new casual in the room, there should be a permanent caretaker too that the infant is familiar with.
Begining of fantasy play.
Shows a preference for 'handedness", or maybe ambidextrous.
Use 'dramatic tones" too.
Learning to share & turntaking.
Learning letters & numbers.
Starting of "separation anxiety" (14-18 months).
Toilet training- accidents & emotional period of time. It is important for the adult to not get frustrated with them.
Transitions- setting boundaries and preparing primary school readiness.
Children are responsive to a new song, even in a different language.