A dedicated practitioner that offers a reliable service to its users is of utmost importance. Reliability ensures the provider is there at all times expected. If a child and parent expects to see the provider at drop off and pick up times it is essential the provider is there. Children and parents would not have the confidence in the setting if the practitioner were regularly late. While working with children days can be quite varied for example a field trip may be planned or a concert.
Parents may drop in unexpectedly which means the practitioner must be adaptable. Commitment to the setting is a must if a child is to feel secure. The adult/child bond cannot be built if there is a high staff turnover. This would create an unsettling environment for children and parents.
A successful practitioner will have personal qualities such as patience, good listening skills, understanding, a caring nature and must be fun. These qualities will ensure children feel valued and included.
He/she must enjoy the work that they are doing. Children will want to spend time in the company of a practitioner with these qualities. It is also very important the practitioner feels comfortable whilst acting silly. Children revel in adults crawling around making animal noises or dressing up, being able to play with a child on their own level creates strong bonds between adult and child. It helps make the establishment an exciting stimulating place to be.
The practitioner should provide routines and consistent rules that children can understand and follow.
It is important a childcare practitioner can be consistent. A daily routine ensures the child knows where and what they should be doing at present and what will be happening next, helping them feel secure. When dealing with behaviour you must be consistent a child would feel they were treat unfairly if one day they were allowed to jump off the slide and then the following day they reprimanded for the same thing. Also it is important to be consistent with the rules for every child regardless of race, religion or gender.
To summarise I believe the three most important qualities an early years practitioner should have are: Organised – An organised establishment is a safe establishment. Without good organisation the provision could prove dangerous to its users. For example not enough staff working one day to care for children. Play equipment not maintained could be fatal to a small child. Reliable – parents and children depend on this person and need to know he/she will be there providing the service expected. Job satisfaction – if the practitioner is unhappy in their work it will reflect badly on the service they provide. Children would pick up on the carer’s negative feelings and the practitioner would be unable to create a happy secure setting. A person who enjoys their work will communicate better with parents and children on all levels and build more positive relationships.
I believe childcare establishments are improving dramatically. In recent years the ownership of providing learning and not just childcare has taken place. Many more staff are trained and I believe funding should be available for all early years staff to gain formal qualifications. Early years staff would then be in a position to offer parents informative advice and help answer the many questions asked by parents.