For many parents, childminders offer a home-from-home environment which meets their childcare needs. Many childminders run their setting single-handedly; however, some are now looking to employ apprentices to help them grow their business.
Jenni is one such childminder, based in Maidstone, who did not want to rush her decision to find an extra pair of hands. Eventually, she found a young school leaver called Harmony,18, who has so far exceeded all her expectations.
A few months on from starting work at JenniWren’s childcare, Harmony has already completed her Paediatric First Aid training and hopes to finish her Level 3 whilst working at the setting.
Harmony found out about apprenticeships whilst visiting a career fayre at a local leisure centre in Maidstone. She explains: “I met a lady from Parenta Training who explained the process and what I would be able to achieve by working alongside studying.
“A week later I was given an interview at JenniWren’s Childcare. Jenni told me all about her business and I knew that I wanted to be a part of something amazing.”
Harmony recently completed her A-levels in Childcare, Business Studies and Health & Social Care. After sixth form, she decided she wanted to continue studying but also gain practical work experience too. A childcare apprenticeship seemed like the perfect solution.
Harmony says: “I have always wanted to work in childcare. I spent a lot of time around my younger sibling which made me realise how important it is to allow a child to feel that they are loved and are being cared for in the right way.”
She adds: “I enjoyed studying Childcare at A-Level which involved undertaking various work placements at local primary schools and nurseries.”
Working for a variety of providers has helped Harmony gain the desirable experience she needed to stand out when she applied at JenniWren’s childcare. Her enthusiasm for learning is also a valuable trait in any childcare practitioner. Day-to-day, Harmony is able to apply what she has learnt on her childcare course to lead many activities which benefit the children:
Harmony says: “I enjoy leading activities such as baking cakes, gardening and crafts. The children enjoy daily outings and we make the most of the local parks, farms and library.
“I look forward to work each morning. I think carefully about the activities for the day and how they will meet each child’s needs and abilities. I put a lot of effort into planning the activities and it’s lovely to see the children enjoying them.”
There are many advantages for Harmony to be able to work alongside Jenni. Not only can she learn what it takes to organise and run a childcare business, but she is also learning how to provide the highest level of childcare [Jenni was rated “outstanding” by Ofsted in 2012]. Looking ahead to the future, Harmony has many aspirations for her career.
“On completing my apprenticeship I hope to remain working with JenniWren’s childcare on a full time basis.
“One day, I would like to open a childcare setting of my own so that I am able to feel the same as Jenni does when she sees the children grow and benefit from her care.”
Here’s what Jenni has to say about Harmony:
“I needed somebody who could provide a positive role model to the children with anti-discriminatory practice in all areas of work and who could adhere to all the setting’s policies and procedures.”
“Thanks to Harmony’s childcare course she has a sound knowledge of the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework and understands the importance of safeguarding and welfare responsibilities involved with working with children.” Jenni explains.
She adds: “Harmony has exceeded my expectations and is on her way to becoming a fantastic childcare practitioner.”
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