If you enjoy working with children and possess a great deal of patience and understanding for them, then enrolling in a child care certificate program may be your first step to finding a new and exciting career as a daycare or preschool professional. These programs prepare students for employment in a variety of rewarding early childhood environments and industries. Many graduates start child care facilities within their homes, allowing them to stay home with their own young children and take in others. Some choose work as licensed child care assistants in larger centers such as preschools and group daycares, while others work as teacher’s aides and consultants. Quality child care is one of the most invaluable services a person can provide and with more families comprised of either two working parents or single working parents, demand will likely increase. A person working in child care must always appreciate they are entrusted with a parent’s precious child. Child care workers should display genuine affection and love for children. Many child care workers provide educational and social development with games, group play, and planned activities. They should recognize that the early years of a child's life is a prime time for many types of learning. For example, it is generally at the pre-school stage when children begin to learn and hone social skills, make friends, discover a love of reading and express their creativity through music or art projects.
Most daycares and preschools now require child care professionals to possess industry certifications. Child day care training programs provide individuals the fundamental knowledge necessary to ensure no harm comes to children in their care. This specific training also increases the quality of the child care experience for both the caregiver and the children. These programs also prepare students for continued study in education and child development. Many community colleges offer child care certificate courses amounting to 15-40 credits and take between six months and one year to complete.
Students learn basic health and safety practices and develop nurturing and instructional skills to help them oversee the development and care of babies and young children. Students often study early childhood education, psychology, child growth and development, behavioral observation and screening, foundations of education, health, safety, and nutrition. Child care certificate programs tend to emphasize the emotional, moral, physical, psychological, and intellectual development of children from birth to adolescence, while discussing different theorists' perspectives. Most programs also offer courses in infant and toddler care, children’s play, interpersonal communications, and children’s art, music, and literature. Other topics include child care ethics and professional practices, child care facility rules and regulations, and child abuse and neglect. Students learn to manage children and understand and guide their behavior by fostering the positive, emotional, and social development of young ones. Students also learn curriculum development, first aid techniques, and communication techniques and strategies for dealing with challenging behaviors. Child care certificate programs also teach students how to plan appropriate and engaging play-based activities to meet children’s individual needs and promote developmental learning.