As a daycare assistant, you must enjoy working with children during early childhood. In the classroom, the responsibility of an aide is to help the head teacher and assistant teacher to run the class as smoothly as possible, including facilitating activities according the curriculum objectives, program philosophy and developmentally appropriate practice. In addition to maintaining a healthy, safe environment, daycare assistants are responsible for creating a positive, encouraging and loving atmosphere for children as they experience school for the first time.
Classroom aides and assistants must meet all applicable licensing regulations and maintain confidentiality of the children and families. On a daily basis, they must supervise and monitor children, prepare meals, help children to maintain good hygiene, change diapers, develop and adhere to routines and explore their interests. They also are responsible for maintaining open communication with parents, noticing and reporting child abuse, keeping track of class attendance and helping children to progress developmentally, according to the Bureau Labor of Statistics. Daycare assistants serve as the teacher's eyes and ears throughout the day, so every child receives the supervision, care and focus needed.
Academic and Experience Requirements
Because every state has its own childcare regulations, it is important to research daycare employment according to your location. For example, in New York, a daycare assistant must be at least 18 years old with two years of experience caring for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old. Childcare experience can range from parenting, babysitting, volunteering or paid daycare employment. Another option is to have only one year of experience with six hours of training in early childhood development, according to the New York City Early Childhood Professional Development Institute.
What It Takes
Not everyone is meant to work with young children. Good daycare assistants know how to be patient with children and adults. They work well with different learning levels and are generous with understanding and kindness in the classroom. They also know how to maintain order by using effective, approved forms of discipline. Aides find joy in working with the head teacher to help nurture and mold young minds during their early stages of education.
Additional Qualifications and Documentation
Since working with children requires many different skills, employees are screened before they even enter the classroom. Daycare assistants must be fingerprinted, provide three childcare references and a medical statement and pass a background check. Afterwards, childcare employment requires all full time employees to complete at least 30 hours of training every two years, which includes principles of childhood development, child-related health practices, child maltreatment identification, prevention and reporting.
2016 Salary Information for Childcare Workers
Childcare workers earned a median annual salary of $21,170 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, childcare workers earned a 25th percentile salary of $18,680, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $25,490, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,216,600 people were employed in the U.S. as childcare workers.