Childcare workers in Australia play a vital role. With their work, they support communities and local families. This means that a healthy childcare network is the backbone of our society.
Here, I’ll give an overview of the training and duties of a childcare worker in Australia. Also, we’ll look at what an average day is.
What Training Do I Need?
All childcare workers in Australia require a minimum of a Certificate III in Early Childhood or at least be actively working towards an approved qualification (certificate III, diploma or early childhood teaching (ECT)). Any option combines in-class study with 150-400 hours of work placement – depending on which course you choose. The courses will cover many subjects, including the typical milestones of infants and children.
The milestones range from social skills and physical development, to emotional and cognitive skills. The course also covers a variety of ways to facilitate achieving these milestones. You can also choose to study online.
If you want a management or coordination role, then you may need to complete a diploma or higher degree.
What are the Duties of Childcare Workers in Australia?
Childcare workers have many duties. Caring for and supervising children during play, sleep and eating is just one part. Designing learning activities is a big part of it, too. Encouraging children to reach developmental goals is another part of it and perhaps the most important.
These are just a handful of the many duties childcare workers could have.
- Modelling appropriate social behaviours
- Guiding social skill development
- Managing daily routines
- Planning and Implementing academic and recreational activities
- Maintaining hygiene standards and general cleanliness
- Reading and playing games with children in group activities
What’s a Normal Day?
Most centres use a flexible schedule. Flexible schedules mean the day is planned out but loosely. It can be hard to predict how each day will go. Each day will present new challenges, so flexibility is almost a job requirement!
An average day starts with arrival. Usually, a childcare worker will help the child transition and start the day. Depending on the centre, you may be serving breakfast.
Free play is necessary for children to develop and practice problem-solving and social skills. Free play can also be used to help children transition into and out of the day. When arriving from home, some children may need some extra transition period to adjust to the childcare environment.
After this transition, morning tea serves as a bit of quiet time. It signals the end of the free play period and a move into more structured group activities.
It’s usually rest time or nap time after a lunch break, depending on the children’s age. Older children need a rest period in the afternoon, while younger children need more frequent rest periods. Nap times will depend on the ages of the children in your group.
Rest time for the kids does not mean rest time for the educator, sadly. During this time, educators will clean up, complete paperwork, and document the morning. Resetting for the afternoon’s activity centres likely happens during the quiet time too.
By the end of the day, returning to free play and a transition back to home happens. Before the day is over, childcare workers need to make sure everything is neat, tidy, and ready for the next day.
Documenting the day’s activities, any incidents, and parent contacts are must-do tasks, as well.
How Much Can I Earn?
Wages for childcare workers start at AU$21.29 per hour. That means the weekly average is AU$953. Take the example of a childcare worker in Sydney, Australia.
With five years of experience, she will earn AU$41,600 per year. That’s just an average, but it gives you a good idea of earning potential in this field. You can find more salary and wage info here.
As a Family Day Care Educator, you can choose the days and hours of work, and so, define how much your income will be. An average is AU$87,620 per year, which means AU$1,685 weekly, but this also depends on which city/are you live.
Working in the childcare industry is a rewarding career path. There are many opportunities in this sector. People who are passionate about helping kids succeed make great educators with fulfilling careers.
Finally, childcare workers are in demand across Australia. So, if you love kids and are looking for a new career – then becoming a childcare or Family Day Care Educator might be right for you.
You can find out more about Family Day Care’s in this article.