Family Day Care 2.0 The Next Generation of Educators
Family Day Care 2.0 The Next Generation of Educators
In an attempt to inform and support the growth of home-based care, Family Day Care Australia (FDCA) has released a study into the profile of the family day care workforce: Attracting the next generation of family day care educators.
The study, which drew on the feedback and insights of 1,288 current family day care educators across Australia, explored the current socio-demographic profile of family day care educators.
FDCA Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Paterson said the research was conducted to ensure a strong and viable future for family day care and insights will be leveraged to determine future recruitment strategies.
"The outcomes of the research are multifaceted, with the findings assisting to inform strategies and advocacy to remove and/or minimize barriers to entry and facilitate growth," he said.
The research revealed that the age of family day care educators has remained fairly constant over the past decade, with the majority (57 per cent) in 2018 continuing to fall into the 30-49 age group, compared with 59 per cent in this age bracket in 2010.
In addition, educators share many common characteristics, which have changed little over time, suggesting personality plays a key role in suitability for being a family day care educator.
For example, family day care educators are comfortable working independently and have a high degree of confidence in their own skills and ability to design educational programs and provide quality care for the children they look after. They value flexibility and like to work autonomously, with few expressing a need for more support over and above what is currently available to them.
The research also demonstrated a growing professionalism in the family day care workforce over the past decade, with a majority (55 per cent) now holding Diploma level qualifications or higher, and 39 per cent having a Certificate III qualification. A small proportion of educators (4 per cent) are classified as "working towards Certificate III".
The study revealed that a growing proportion of family day care educators have experience in other settings - nearly half (45 per cent) of survey respondents who became educators within the last three years have previously worked in a long day care centre. Close to half (47 per cent) of educators indicated that the ability to work from home while caring for their own children was a key motivation for starting a career in family day care.
In addition to enjoying the flexibility of working from home, 51 per cent of respondents said a major benefit of being a family day care educator was the strong bonds and relationships built with children and families.
On the other hand, increasing administrative and compliance requirements were cited by a total 20 per cent of educators as the biggest challenge they faced. This figure rose to 35 per cent for educators that have been working for ten or more years in the field.
Interestingly, newer educators felt less burdened by administration and compliance than long term educators, with only 11 per cent citing this as a challenge.
Other challenges identified by survey respondents were a community-wide lack of understanding and awareness about the role of family day care. Financial considerations such as set up costs, access to stable accommodation and lack of employment entitlements were also common issues.
In addition, 28 per cent of educators said difficulty taking time off was the most challenging aspect of their role and this figure rose to 33 per cent among educators in the early stages of their career.
What the future looks like
FDCA says the research confirms that, due to the unique nature of family day care, it is likely that the next generation of educators is likely to be comprised of individuals aged between 30-50 years who are confident in their abilities, comfortable working on their own and committed to using their skills and qualifications to make a difference in the lives of the children they care for.
In addition, future family day care educators are more likely than in the past to:
- be qualified, experienced early childhood education and care professionals
- be increasingly a renter rather than a homeowner
- have previously worked in a long day care setting, kindergarten or preschool
- be attracted to a career in family day care by the ability to use their own skills, knowledge and experience to develop individual care programs; and not necessarily have their own young children at home when they first set up as a family day care educator
To view full report, visit FDCA.
This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Thursday, 01 October 2020
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