As a company with multiple daycare centers in the Metro Vancouver region, we can say that providing educational childcare is truly our passion. We also love working with early childhood educators who join us in our mission. Speaking of our own daycare centres, we can say our work-style is run like a family. And, who can forget the best part: all that cuteness! So in this post, we thought we’d help others understand what it takes for us to be working at our dream jobs – with both the good and the bad. We’ll be covering 3 things to know before becoming a childcare worker in B.C.
1) You need to be prepared for the hard parts of childcare jobs
Some introspective soul-searching is really important when deciding on any career. If you want to become a childcare worker, or start a career working with children in any way, we would especially advise careful consideration.
Your decision to enter the field will not only affect you; it can affect the young kids you’d be working with, and their families too. Early childhood educators and caregivers can have a big impact on the lives of children who spend a large portion of their time in the child care environment.
So, with that said, if you feel that you like children, be aware that becoming a childcare worker is not just about a few hours of ‘playtime’ with cute kids. There is that aspect to it (thankfully!), but it is more demanding than that. You will be responsible for handling the tough situations kids go through too. And yes, that can mean ‘unreasonable’ crying or tantrums, and the cleaning up of bodily fluids and play spaces!
When things get tough with a kid, the worst part will be realizing that you are not the parent of this child; there is only so much you can do to help, for the hours you are with that child. It takes care and compassion to come to work every day in those circumstances. Kids can learn to change their behaviours, but not overnight. And when special needs are involved, that can take some extra special patience.
Plus, in general, kids are loud and rambunctious. It’s normal for them to not be still. They’re supposed to play; it’s their profession as much as it will be yours to care for them. If your personality likes peace, quiet and mature interactions, the job can turn into more of a stress on your life than a joy.
There are different paths you can take to become a childcare worker, and different roles too. If you decide to work in a daycare centre or preschool environment, your job won’t only be about child minding. There will be a strong educational component to your daily tasks too. Understanding child development, and how little tots learn, will be a big part of what you are trained for in any school for the early childhood education profession.
2) You have to weigh out the ‘bad’ with the rewards a childcare career can give
With all those warnings given, we do have to say there is a huge plus side to being a childcare worker!
For those who find it their career fit, going to work every day and seeing developmental progress in a child can be very rewarding. Learning to see life through a child’s eyes can bring you joy in the little things you probably never noticed before. And, knowing you are helping a family provide a wholesome environment for their little one can make you feel all the more like you’re contributing to your community.
As you progress in your career, your responsibilities can become more advanced, which is great if you love a challenge. You could find yourself forming expertise in the area of curriculum development, for instance. And, it’s no small thing to feel important for making an impact in the way children learn! Another example is you may decide to specialize as a childcare counsellor. Or perhaps with special needs.
Childcare is also a career that doesn’t involve a lot of sitting at a desk in front of a computer. You will be hands-on most of the time. You’ll get to go outside and be active. You’ll even be able to use creativity when lesson planning or coming up with craft ideas. For some people, that is a huge plus!
3) You’ll have to consider whether child care job salaries are satisfying enough for you
If we’re going to be realistic, we need to make clear that life with a childcare job in Metro Vancouver is not going to make you rich.
While each job will have its own merits and offers, and each person’s experience can affect their pay, we have found that earnings in the field can be as low as minimum wage, to around $20 CAD per hour (these are rough figures based on this resource). According to payscale.com, in Canada overall, the rate can be slightly lower, and many who start on this career path move into other types of jobs. But according to glassdoor.ca, the pay for this job in B.C. can go up substantially. And working as a home child care provider can earn less than working in a licensed group daycare (compare these notes with these ones).
Now, according to WorkSafe BC, a childcare worker can be exposed to risk of injury. How likely that is for you will be something you’ll need to weigh on your own (especially in relation to salary compensation). But we thought it would be appropriate to mention it, since you should go into any career with your eyes ‘wide open.’
For the long term, the other thing to look at in terms of the livability of your career is the availability of jobs. Right now, you’ll hear stories of child care waitlists being long and hard to get into for parents who want to go back to work (see this CBC article from 2016, for example). Our own centres are often accepting registrants on waitlists. And when we have spots open for children, it’s usually for less than a handful of kids. That can be hard for parents with more than one child.
In all, the outlook for a stable career in the field may be promising, especially if you decide to set up your own childcare service (given the shortages noted above). But, going out on your own can present its own challenges and legalities, like it would with many other entrepreneurial journeys, except this one would be much more regulated by government.
You’ll also have to invest a lot of money to start a daycare centre or childcare service that isn’t in your own home. And one thing that can be overlooked on this career route is the loneliness; do you really want to be alone with kids all day, everyday? Or would you appreciate the added help and adult side conversations? (Though, childcare assistants may be legally necessary for some daycare operations anyway). We’ll just put that out there for you to consider!
See related on our blog:
- How do professionals evaluate the quality of daycares and preschools?
- What makes a good daycare space design?
- What are government resources for early childhood care?
To conclude: becoming a childcare worker in Vancouver is not for the faint in heart, but it is for the young at heart!
As we’ve seen above, you’ll want to know everything about starting a career in childcare – not just the good parts! And this article only covers the initial things to know. In fact, when you delve into the subject further, you’ll learn that there are still more steps to starting your career, including becoming certified for the job (in licensed settings).
However, once you decide the fit is right for you, the career can be wonderful. If you love kids, and love caring for them, working in a daycare or preschool may be the dream career for you, as it is for us!