What is the Role of a Family Day Care Educator?
What is the Role of a Family Day Care Educator?
At Rainbow Bridge Family Day Care, we can only speak for our educators. Different services require different things but across the board, the two important things to be aware of are:
- the health and safety of young children in your care.
- how YOUR curriculum and program provides for children’s learning.
We believe the best way to answer this question is to give you an overview of what is expected of a Rainbow Bridge Family Day Care educator and we do this by showcasing a typical day and what it might look like in your service.
The child’s day in your service.
- All our Rainbow Bridge Family Day Care educators support and provide a Daily ‘Rhythm’, made up of ‘breathing in’ (focused activities such as bread making, or cooking, or painting) followed by a period of ‘outbreathing’ (imaginative play, outdoor play etc), and a Weekly Rhythm. (“Rhythm” is ONE of the Foundation Training Modules we offer. It’s something you learn along the way with our support.)
- A copy of your daily and weekly rhythms must be on display in your home. (We create these during induction)
- Mealtimes form part of this rhythmical picture of the day. Mealtimes are valued as a sacred and necessary time of community and replenishment, and as an educator, it is necessary that you eat WITH the children as a role model for imitation.
- All of educators work to a 12-week seasonal plan, with opportunities to be in, and give thanks to, the natural world.
- Educators and children work together on a journey towards the “culmination” of each term, a seasonal sharing festival with families and friends. (Educators chose when this will be, so some educators conduct their festival at the midway point of the season while others like to place it at the end of a season. It is totally up to you!)
- Seasonal activities, songs, crafts, games etc will feature heavily in the program.
- However of course, our plans are always open to the spontaneous and are ‘reflective’ and ‘responsive’ to what is happening each day, each moment.
- Evaluating, observing, and (critically) reflecting upon our planning, and the teachings and “unfoldings” of the day are crucial steps in the programming cycle, and a necessary component of the National Quality Standards. (NQS) and Early Years Learning Framework, (EYLF) that we practice.
- To help our educators with seasonal planning ideas, we offer a ‘Seasonal Craft/Activities’ night once per season AND a collaborative planning night once per season. Attendance at these is not mandatory but our educators LOVE them! Sharing ideas with other team members only makes what you do better (and more fun!)
Content of your Day
- At Rainbow Bridge, imaginative play is the focus of our day. In play, children learn and figure out the world. We support ‘loose parts’ play, where children are encouraged to take bits and bobs (ie: seashells, blocks, wooden curtain rings, smooth rocks, peg doll forms, wooden pegs, plain coloured cloths, etc) they find in the room or in the outdoor space, and ‘create their world anew’, rather than be confined to one-sided toys, or games.
- We encourage our educators to have a large portion of our toys that are handmade, are primarily of natural materials such as timber, wool, cotton, or sustainable (eg recycled plastic trucks and teasets from companies like Green Toys) , locally sourced where possible, ethically made, or toys that support micro-business such as Nepalese felt products. (Training will expand upon why we do this. Going green or handmade can be a gradual process.)
- Our role as educators is to provide guidance, and a ‘mantle’ of protection that allows the child the space to develop these new skills, abilities, and imagination forces though both imaginative play, intentional teaching and responses to spontaneous events. We work strongly out of ‘the Principle of Imitation’ and believe that we, as educators, must strive to be conscious and mindful about the ways in which we move, interact, respond, question, teach, and care for the children. Our guiding principles are ‘truth, beauty, and goodness’.
- Of course, spontaneous joyful learning that arises out of random events and happenings makes up a huge part of your day too.
- A daily session of (oral) storytelling, a circle time of songs and games, and creative fun ways to transition between activity and activity form another layer of the daily rhythm. Children rely upon these regular ‘touchstones’ and are gently guided to the next ‘thing’ as they learn to follow the cues, songs and gestures. We will support you in learning how to do offer this style of intentional teaching with new songs, games and story ideas, and hope to inspire you to make up your own as you become confident in your role.
- Children will also be heavily involved in real-life home-tasks such as cooking, baking, cleaning, and mending as part of their weekly rhythm.
- Crafts and artistic activities too, are a focus and many (most?) of these on offer will have direct links to the season in which they are being offered. Activities will also be heavily connected to the seasons, and may include gardening, paddock to plate preparation, and music.
- What you offer as an educator must be real and not just a time-filler. The key guideline for what you choose to bring to the children in your care is ‘truthful, beautiful and good.’ Eco-friendly and sustainable are two other broad goals.
Rest is vital for brain development.
- A resting time needs to occur once a day (educators are mindful that babies have their own schedules and follow their rhythms as necessary too) and children are invited to give their bodies a little ‘break’ from working. Resting, but not necessarily sleeping, is integral to each group as it allows little ones to also take a time out from one another, and from over-activity. Resting is a breathing out period which prepares us for the next fun breathing in activity.
- Educators may also use this time to focus on, and artistically present, the children’s learning journals. These Learning Storytelling Journals form part of our observations throughout the year, and are part of the end-of-year gift to families.
Media and Screen-time
- It is important to note that media (screen time) is not an option at Rainbow Bridge Family Day Care
- Our focus is human relationships, and our service believes that parents deserve the best human one-to-one care that the educator can give, not to have their children propped up in front of a box when fees for care are being paid. We will provide you with plenty of resources and ideas to help you find ways to overcome challenging moments.
- Many, if not most, children may have to access screen time at some point during the day or weekend at home, so they are not ‘missing out’.
- We also believe that parents, rather than educators, need to be in charge of children’s screen time habits, play a guardianship role, and set the limits over what is ok and what is not ok when it comes to viewing habits, games, and social media.
There’s so so so much more, but this is just an introductory snippet.
Call us on 0488 369 139 to ask your questions.
We’d love to help!