The following list of questions and answers may be useful to you whether you are interested in becoming a child carer, in need of a child carer for your family, or just have questions about the childcare industry in general:
What’s the difference between babysitter, nanny, au pair, and nursery assistant?
A babysitter is someone selected by a family or person to care for a child, and may or may not be fully qualified or experienced to do so. Individuals who provide childcare services to families in their own home are called “Nannies”. Nannies are trained sufficiently and meet basic childcare legal checks to be able to look after a child regardless of age. Nannies can register with Ofsted’s Voluntary General Childcare Register (vGCR).
An au pair may be aged between 18 to 30 and lives with a host family in a country that is not their home country and works as a live-in domestic assistant and child carer for the family. A nursery assistant or playworker works in a preschool setting providing early learning to children aged between three and four before they start compulsory school in the UK. Nursery assistants can do so under supervision or through relevant qualification in childcare and education.
What’s the difference between preschool and kindergarten?
“Preschool” means the same as “Nursery” or “Playgroup” in the UK and refers to the provision and delivery of education and development for children from birth to age five, before the start of compulsory education. Sometimes in the UK, the term “kindergarten” is used to describe a private or specialist type of “nursery” organisation where full-day child care is provided for parents who have career commitments. The preschool period is when children learn the fastest as they develop and discover new things. The foundation programme of preschool is sometimes termed FS1 and has an outlined curriculum for preschool children to follow.
Are there legal requirements to work in childcare?
Yes, under the Childcare Act of 2006, the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act of 2006, and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), there are specific legal requirements to work in childcare. These may include: Agencies and individuals who provide childcare can register with the UK Charity Commission as a means of meeting the legal requirements to operate within a childcare setting.
These legal checks include:
(a) Qualifications in the policies and procedures which they have in place for keeping children safe
(b) Other training such as in first aid
(c) Disclosure of Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) – enhanced CRB
(d) Public liability insurance where necessary
How do I become qualified to work in childcare?
There are two main routes to becoming qualified to work in childcare. One route may be through a supervision or apprenticeship scheme with an employer and another is through gaining qualification such as through the Children’s Care and Education Council (CACHE) – Certificate or Diploma in Childcare and Education.
Do I need qualifications to work in childcare?
Individuals working as babysitters and nannies do not need formal qualifications, but gaining qualification opens up employment opportunities and confidence in service.