I'm passionate about home based childcare options, in Australia we call this sector Family Day Care and for the next month I will be highlighting some of the wonderful work that professional family day care educators do all around Australia. We'll take a peek into their childcare environments, talk about why they love what they do and even share a few of the unique challenges that only this role offers.
If you are considering opening a family day care service from your home this series will be a valuable step inside what is really involved and the type of educator you need to be to make it work for you…and also your own family.
If you are a parent who is considering choosing family day care as your childcare option this series will certainly help to show why I personally believe this is one of the best options available today for children and families requiring care. You can also read THIS GUIDE to finding a quality family day care service.
If you are confused about what home based or family day care services offer I hope this series will answer some of your questions.
Let's take a quick look at a few basics to guide both educators and parents about this child care option for before we get started on the educator profiles though.
What is Family Day Care?
- An approved form of childcare offered in an educator's home environment.
- Childcare offered by early childhood trained, approved and registered professional educators.
- A service operating under a national framework, regulations and guidelines just like any other childcare service in Australia.
- Childcare for small groups of children (4 under 5 years) with most providers offering flexibility in hours and days of care offered. Educators can also choose to care for up to an additional 3 children of school age and many offer before and after school care options as well as vacation care during school holidays.
- Family Day Care educators are responsible for running their own business but they also work with approved schemes in their area who provide regular support to educators and the children in care. The coordination units or schemes ensure registration requirements and regulations are met on an ongoing basis and must also offer training and regular face to face support to educators.
- A child care option that allows parents the opportunity to claim federal government child care benefit and child care rebates subsidies to help with the cost of child care fees.
- A unique childcare option that allows for children to feel secure in a familiar home like environment often surrounded by siblings while they explore the fun of early learning and form strong secure attachments to their educator and small group.
I've outlined the basics here but if you want a more in depth look at the specifics required to run a family day care service you might like to read THIS ARTICLE.
What Does a Family Day Care Educator Really Do?
I've always believed that the best way to gain a broader understanding of something or someone is to actually take a walk in their shoes or at least a little visual glimpse into what happens behind the scenes, what makes people do what they do.
That's why I wanted to share some wonderful profiles of educators doing what they love to do. These are real people passionate about what they do and the early learning opportunities they provide for many families. They are all diverse and bring different qualities and skills to their role.
I'm proud to highlight the fantastic work they are doing through this series and show readers why family day care is certainly not ‘babysitting' or ‘Mum minding the kids at home'. It is a professional early years option run not only by trained and professional educators but also sole business owner/operators!
Home based child care providers can be found in many countries even though they are recognised under different names – I know that no matter where you live you will feel a connection with these educators and professionals so let's get started with our first profile!
I've asked each educator the same questions and I'm going to share their answers and photos with you each article.
In Part 1 of this series I'd like to welcome an educator from Elanora on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia!
What is your Family Day Care service name?
Carlene's Cubbyhouse Family Day Care
How long have you been a Family Day Care Educator?
What qualifications & experience do you have?
I have nearly 20 years experience in the Early Childhood profession. I have a Certificate 3 in Children's services and have just about completed my Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education.
Why did you choose to open a Family Day Care service?
I am passionate about working in Early Childhood and needed a career that allowed me to still be available to my own family.
What is your philosophy regarding working with and caring for young children?
I endeavor to provide a nuturing, loving, safe and home-like environment where children can grow and learn to the best of their ability. I am passionate about building collaborative relationships with families and caregivers so we can work together to create the best outcomes for all children.
Children in my care learn through play, intentional teaching and spontaneous experiences. Children are encouraged to explore the world around them through exposure to natural materials, resources and sustainable practices. They are given opportunities to problem solve, build relationships, create amazing art, role play, socialise, experiment, hypothesise, be active, take risks, contribute to the community and to slow down and enjoy the beauty of childhood.
What do you love about being a Family Day Care Educator?
Everything! I love the close relationships I have with the children and their families – they are an extension of my family. I also love the relationships my own children have formed with the FDC children. I love having a small group and being able to really focus on each child's development, needs and interests. I also love planning new and exciting experiences for us to try. My favourite thing is definitely greeting everyone each morning – I love their shining faces and their excitement to be here each day!
What is your biggest challenge working in this sector?
Finding time for myself. After caring for children all day and then switching to ‘mum mode' in the evenings (I have four children aged between 6 years to 15 years) I'm exhausted!
I also feel frustrated about the misconception that Family Day Care is a second rate child care service. This couldn't be further from the truth!
What do you feel are the biggest benefits to children attending a family day care service like yours that the community and families might not be aware of?
The beautiful home-like environment that educators provide. The focus on family is an amazing part of FDC and the close bond between my family and my FDC families is something I don't think could be replicated in any other type of service.
I think having small groups of differing ages is very beneficial; the younger children learn so much from the older children, and the older children are very nurturing and caring toward the little ones. I really feel that having a small group enables me to provide the very best care possible for all the children.
My goodness – aren't you just in love with that pallet kitchen outdoor play area? Thank you to Carlene for opening her home to us and sharing an insight into her work as a professional family day care educator. If you would like to contact Carlene you can leave me a message in the comments below and I will get your message to her!
Do you also work as a home based childcare provider? What do you love about your role? Share it with us below!
A great read..I’m an early childhood educator and have just begun researching the idea of FDC…
We live in a small coastal town in Victoria and I have worked at the long day care centre, kindergarten and school.
Just Recently, I placed a small ad on our local FB community webpage to get an idea of interest for fdc…I had 40 responses!
Wish me luck!
How exciting Kate – that’s a very positive response and clearly the service is needed in your area! I wish you every bit of luck on your new journey!
WoW Carlene, I think there is going to be a theme with work life Personal life balance! I am an Educator taking part in this blog and I agree 100% with you about the misconception about what Family Day Care is out there in the community. It really is up to use to get the positives out there and present ourselves with our children so we are seen.
Great blog Jodie thankyou for putting FDC out into the community. Love your work
Thanks for your feedback Debbie and I agree it really is up to us to show the positives of FDC as there are so many!!Look forward to sharing your own story 🙂
Renata Stipanovic says
A wonderful read. Love that you’re exposing the true assets and beauty of quality Family Day Care. A child care option many parents are still unaware of. Loving the passion and dedication that speaks loudly through your post Carlene. As a fellow educator as well as s mum of four, I can relate to how busy life can be. I also know that being a FDC educator is the most rewarding role ever. You have the power to make a real difference. Thanks for sharing your story x
Thanks for reading along Renata – I agree with everything you said wholeheartedly and it is indeed a very rewarding role – although one that can be exhausting but well worth it!!
Carlene is a wonderful example of what can be expected in this profession as are you Renata! x
I am a Mum at Carlene’s FDC and I thank my lucky stars every day that I get to drop my 3 year old off at such a fantastic, loving, learning, fun, safe, caring place. Carlene has formed such a special bond with the kids, they all love her to bits and she’s become such a big part of their early childhood. What lucky kids and parents we are. Thanks Carlene!
How absolutely lovely to hear Roxy! I have no doubt that the children spending time each day at Carlene’s are very lucky and enjoy their time there! It’s also important to have supportive parents involved in a FDC service and you certainly contribute to such a wonderful service. Thanks for your feedback, lovely to hear a parent’s perspective 🙂
In England we are called Childminders. It really makes it sound like all we do is mind the children. I love that you are called Educators. It already sounds far more professional, and I might adopt that title for myself.
Not only do I own and rum my childminding from home, I also own a nursery and there is a huge difference in public opinion between the two.
The Empowered Educator says
I hear you Tygerbear – I have often wondered what English educators think of that term! In Australia we were just ‘carers’ for many years. There certainly is a huge difference in public opinion here too between centre and home based care which is a real shame. The change of title to educator was meant to help but I’m not sure it has had the desired effect unfortunately…we will keep trying though as there really is so much more to the job than just minding or caring for children!
Lauren L says
Carlene is my spirit animal! I’m in the central United States and have the same loves and struggles with my family childcare.
This is a great article and I love the interview and your enivonment!
Janice Francis says
Would love to know where Carlene got the Healthy ABC’s poster from. Thanks,
Holly C. says
I love her ABC area. So cool to use those little wooden pieces for letters. 🙂 My group is young (6m-16m) so I feel a lot of that would get lost/misplaced/etc. but I prefer the 2+ years group. Everyone seems to enroll their children in centers around 2-3 so it’s a hard market. :\