I have been in child care for almost 30 years! Over these almost 30 years I have accumulated experience in daycare centres, family resource centres and nursery school programs. I have worked front line, as a supervisor and as a director. About 4 years ago I made the decision to move from public centre care to family child care.
Why would I make this leap? Family child care offers little pay for long hours and little respect from the general child care community but it also offers me the opportunity to do what I love to do and what I know is right! I love working with the children directly. I love being able to be my own boss and create a program I am in control of and proud of.
I know children learn, develop and grow best through play and having the freedom to make decisions. I knew the best place for this to happen was in family child care. We have freedom from schedules and unneeded routines. We can add to our play or move on whenever the children are ready. We follow their lead! They are the ones who plan the curriculum. We as the adults are there to support what they need, ask thought provoking questions and encourage their path of self discovery.
Like all child care programs, each family child care program is a bit different. Each program reflects the training and beliefs of the provider running it. My personal philosophy strongly supports play based learning and getting messy, the freedom to make decisions about as much as possible, and getting children back to outdoors and creating a love of nature.
I believe children need the opportunity to think for themselves and develop skills to be creative ‘out of the box’ thinkers, and time to figure things out and problem solve on their own. These are skills that they need as they grow and move into adulthood.
I love the small multi age groups that family child care offers. Where else in a child care setting can siblings choose to play together or not? Older children are often seen helping and assisting the younger ones. The younger ones look up to the older ones and they try to model their play after the older children. We have developed a community here. We are allowed to play with who we want. We create the games that are inclusive but we can be also choose to play alone. We don’t have to share. We do have to be respectful of everyone and everything.
These are a few of the reasons I chose family child care.