I have been thinking about writing this post for a long time. I don’t want it to come across as bossy or preachy, it’s just some suggestions from my personal observations that would make life easier for early childhood educators, and in turn for children and parents.
I am an early childhood relief educator. I’ve worked in rooms in childcare as well, but at the moment I’m a relief educator. I’ll be in a room if a staff member is away, or I may be in every room at some point, covering lunches, cleaning, putting laundry away.
When you first put your precious family member into childcare, the centre director or manager will tell you basically everything you need to know. They will tell you if nappies and meals are provided or if you need to bring your own. They will introduce you to the educators that will be in the room with your child each day. They will give you a copy of the centre policies and procedures, or let you know where a copy is that you can read at the centre. There are a few little things they probably won’t go over with you, that I would like to share as a relief educator.
- Name everything! If something goes to childcare or kindy with your child, it should have their name on it somewhere, clearly. Please make sure you write your child’s first name on everything, also. While the regular educators in the room will know your son is Edward Smith and he has an older sister called Ramona, relief educators in the room will only know him as “Eddie” or “Edward”, and won’t know that things labelled “R. Smith” are his. Reusing things for younger children is fine, but please make sure you put their first name on it somewhere, too.
- Send nappies with tabs. If you provide nappies yourself, please send the kind with tabs rather than pull-ups. We have up to twelve nappies to change each time we do changes, and it goes much more quickly if we can keep every kids’ pants on. Pull-ups are fine for older children that just need them at sleep time, especially if they can put them on themselves or with just a bit of help, but if your child is in nappies full time, please send the tab kind or cloth nappies. Speaking of cloth nappies, don’t feel like you can’t use them in childcare. Unless the centre has a policy against them for some reason, even if the centre provides nappies, it’s fine to choose not to use disposables. We’re usually not allowed to scrape or soak them though, so at the end of the day you will have to take home a bucket of gift wrapped poo.
- Relief educators may not know what’s normal for your child, so we may ask “silly” questions or tell you things that made us feel concerned that you may not even think about, like “Shirley didn’t eat much today and she had a runny nose. She might be coming down with something.” when actually Shirley just eats lightly all the time and gets a runny nose on rainy days. The more you can tell us, the more we know next time we’re in your child’s room. I know it’s frustrating since you’ve probably already told the regular room educators. It’s not that we don’t talk to each other, it’s just that these things get so routine and normal for the room educators that they don’t really think about it anymore.
If I think of something else, which I’m liable to do, I’ll come back and edit this post, but that’s it for now. Just three little pointers to help things run more smoothly.
Signed with love and care,
The Pretty Kitty.