Every month we showcase an outstanding early childhood educator, if you know someone who deserves to be profiled be sure to email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
This month we are proud to introduce nanny extraordinaire, Belinda MacDonald, who offers great advice for anyone considering nannying as a career.
What is your full name?
My name is Belinda MacDonald, also known as Belindi, Winda and Nanny Belinda, and I am 31.
Where do you work?
I work as a private nanny for various families across Melbourne. The families I work for have anywhere between 1 and 3 children.
What is your professional background and career experience?
I had always wanted to be a nanny, so straight out of school, I studied a Certificate III in Children’s Services, while babysitting on the side.
I have 12 years' experience and have done everything from being an au pair in Germany and the USA, to live-in work around Melbourne and Sydney, to working alongside stay home mums to full-time sole care and most recently part-time sole care across several families. I’ve worked with children from newborns through to eight years of age.
What attracted you to a career in child care?
I always wanted to work with children, no defining moment, just something I knew I would be good at and love.
What does a 'normal' day look like for you?
My days vary depending on the family and the children’s needs but generally include the below.
7:00am – 8:00am: I leave my house for work. I Arrive at the family's home and do a quick hand over with parent/s. The parents leave for work and we start the day, finishing breakfast, getting the children dressed and putting on a load of laundry.
8:00am – 8:30am: School/kinder drop off for the older children and a trip to the shops/park with the younger children.
10:00am – 11:00am: Home for a play and some lunch.
12:00pm – 1:00pm: Read some books and put children down for a nap/rest depending on their needs. While the children are resting, I take a quick break and finish off any child related duties such as laundry, cleaning up the kitchen.
2:00pm: Children wake, and we have another play inside or outside and a snack.
2:30pm: School/kinder pick up.
3:00pm – 4:00pm: Come home for an after-school snack, do readers and help with homework while the younger children do some independent play, while I cook dinner and do a final tidy.
5:00pm – 6:00pm: We sit down to have dinner just as the parents come home.
What makes your approach unique?
My approach to early education is unique because I provide the children in my care with a mix of play-based learning and teaching them life skills.
They come with me to run errands for the parents, they help with shopping, they buy stamps, help with the laundry, and they are my assistant chefs.
What are some of the advantages of working in the early childhood sector?
Watching the children I care for grow and develop into amazing well-rounded, kind, thoughtful human beings, all with their own personalities, strengths and weaknesses.
What are some of the biggest challenges facing the early childhood sector?
I think the biggest challenge facing the nanny industry is getting the general public and government to see nannies as professionals. A lot of nannies are forced to accept cash in hand jobs and work below minimum wage or spend months unemployed searching for a family willing to employ legally.
How has your approach changed to deal with these challenges?
I have moved to a sole trader model taking care of the paperwork side of things that the families like to avoid. This is not a solution for all nannies as every job situation is different. It's important to check with the ATO whether you and your situation fits in with the ABN/sole trader model.
How does the industry need to change to adapt to these challenges?
More information needs to be supplied for families and nannies. That is why it’s important for me to work on the Australian Nanny Association committee. The ANA is continually working to provide its members and the general public with correct information on employing a nanny and nanny rights.
What advice would you offer someone thinking about a career in the early childhood sector?
Do some research on your rights as a nanny, employment wise. Each job is different so it is important to go over job expectations have a contract in place and a trial period.
A good network of nannies will be able to provide you with support and advice, so join the ANA, local nanny 'Facebook' group and chat to the other nannies at school pick-up and the park.
Finally, keep your documents (first aid/CPR WWCC, police check) up to date and attend 1-3 conventions/workshops/professional development classes each year.
This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Monday, 27 January 2020
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