As a single mum Danielle Williamson chose to be a Family Day Care Educator as it would enable her to work from home and determine her own working hours.
Danielle’s three children have additional needs and she felt they would be better off in non-centre based care. “I wanted to find something where I could bring in an income, but be able to work from home so I didn’t have to put my children into care,” she says.
After exploring her options, Danielle decided to become a Family Day Care Educator. Danielle and her children were already familiar with Windermere and the Family Day Care model. “All my children had accessed family day care through Windermere previously, and they loved it,” says Danielle.
Under the family day care model educators care for children from within their own homes. They must be qualified and are regulated under the same National Quality Framework Guidelines as centre-based child care providers.
Danielle had a background in administration and accounting rather than early childhood education. But she did enjoy being with children and felt being an educator would be a meaningful career choice.
One of her first steps was to obtain the minimum qualifications to become an educator. She enrolled in a Certificate III in Children’s Services and obtained first aid qualifications.
Under the National Quality Framework there are also a range of standards that educators are required to follow. These include standards regarding education, curriculum, safety and hygiene.
Danielle approached Windermere Child and Family Services to become an educator under their service coordination. Windermere Family Services provides a Family Day Care service for infants, pre-schoolers and school age children.
The partnership suited both parties. Windermere oversees the service and Danielle is contracted to run her own business under the Windermere umbrella.
Windermere monitors and assists Danielle to meet the regulatory requirements and manages family fee payments.
“The Windermere staff are amazing. I feel very supported and part of a team,” says Danielle.
Danielle is able to focus on what she does best – being an educator and a carer for the children. This includes establishing regular individualised learning plans for each child based on developmental milestones at half yearly intervals.
“It’s like an extension on being a mum. I love that the children can be in a relaxed home-based setting. We focus on developing their independence and life skills, not just the academic,” says Danielle.
Danielle determines the hours that she will work and offers them to her families accordingly. Unlike centre-based child care the times are flexible. Danielle is able to provide education and care for children at all hours, including weekends, after school, overnight, evenings and early mornings.
“Families love the flexible hours options. They can choose to do minimum blocks of two hours for school age children or five hour blocks for pre-schoolers” she says.
The comfort and familiarity of the home care based settings also allow Danielle to enjoy a close relationship with the children in her care.
From a personal point of view Danielle says being a Family Day Care Educator allows her to combine earning an income while being available to her own children. “It is the best job on the planet for running your family and your own business,” she says.
Danielle still stays in touch with many of the families and children who have used her services. “It’s beautiful seeing these children blossom into teenage and then adult years knowing you have contributed to their early childhood and memory making,” she says.
Contact Windermere Family Services for more information about Family Day Care options in the Casey Cardinia, Bayside and Knox areas, or if you are interested in becoming a Family Day Care Educator. Visit www.windermere.org.au/childcare or call 1300 946 337.