Shock thought: you know, trained people must just be better than untrained?

4 February 2013

Childcare: woman and child drawing together. (c) iStockA letter to The Guardian:

Based on her own experience Zoe Williams concludes that a person without qualifications will struggle to look after six children. That sounds plausible. What sounds rather less plausible is her insistence that the problem lies with the number six and not with her lack of qualifications.

The problem isn’t with the government’s proposal that some childcare professionals can look after six children. It’s with her logic that if an untrained and inexperienced person can’t do it, then a trained and experienced professional must also be unable to.

Yours etc.

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3 comments
Shell Reaves
Shell Reaves

Ms Truss, I DARE YOU to do the job of a childminder and look after 6 under 5's to OFSTED'S standards and regulations for a full working week at most childminder's normal opening hours of 6am - 6pm, If you still think it's a marvellous idea then more fool you, because you are quite obviously going to drive childcare professionals mad and the kids are going to suffer too!

Anthony Harms
Anthony Harms

I don't think you need a "skills" qualification to look after children but just like H & S legislation, childcare training should ensure you consider a number of things (eg. is your kettle plugged into a floor socket?) : ie its a way of communicating general wisdom to individuals. Even loving parents can do mad things. Perhaps more like rote learning. English and Maths GCSEs don't seem terribly germane. Personally I found one toddler pretty hard work and I wouldn't have liked him going to a minder with five others.

Penny Webb
Penny Webb

In most professions - including childcare - qualifications help understand the theory, the why and how of any particular area of work. Indeed these qualifications can lead to greater efficiency in certain occupations. But with very young children qualified or not - there is only so much one adult can do - two arms can at best comfort two children at once, can only help one child up and down the slide at a time, can only feed one baby (unless going for the sit in bouncy cradle and prop bottle in mouth type of feeding babies, can only change one nappy at a time, can only listen and respond to one child at a time for that all important individual communication and sharing of interests, news, excitement or worry. One adult only has one pair of eyes and young children are very active they do not tend to sit still for long, they are very inquisitive and want to explore, they have little or no sense of danger especially if engrossed in their play - eyes in the back of the head would be useful but as we don't have them , we need to be realistic about what is possible and what is safe. I am not against qualifications but actually the physical limitations of an adult human being are what is in question. One final point - humans do not all even like children, or are able to show the necessary empathy, patience and warmth and if you lack these 'non qualification' skills - then it does not matter how many GCSE's, or degrees you have - you will not survive for long in the busy nuresry or childminder setting.

C-