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News - World Headlines

Up-skilling 'Caregivers' to be "Educators' - A Key Step to Developing Good Childcare

Most countries in the world do not have a well-developed early childhood education system.  Here is a news story from Kuala Lumpur which nicely illustrates the early stages of arguing for caregivers to be early childhood educators.


Kuala Lumpur, July 2012 - With more women joining the workforce, there is a great need for childcare services like daycare centres and babysitters, National Association of Early Childhood Care and Education Malaysia president Radziah Mohd Daud says.

Currently, there are 46% of women in the workforce and the Government aims to increase that to 55% by 2015.

“However, we need caregivers who have proper knowledge of child development and who genuinely adore children. Most daycare centres adhere to a certain curriculum and adopt a holistic developmental approach.

“Babysitters may not have such knowledge, but at the very least, they must love the children and know about nutrition and behavioural management,” says Radziah, adding that babysitters must also know basic first aid, and how to handle a choking incident.

A former nurse and midwife, the head of the non-profit organisation that acts in the interest of children from birth to eight years old, emphasises the importance of social and emotional development in a young child.

“Socialising is an important aspect of a child’s growth that he or she can pick up from in a daycare environment,” says Radziah, who has been involved in the early childcare industry for over three decades now.

“I strongly feel that babysitters must also know activities that stimulate a child’s development, besides loving them.”

She lists out three factors of quality childcare – a conducive learning environment; developmentally appropriate curriculum; and a nurturing and trained caregiver.

 “I am not against babysitters. But the early years of a child is a time to not just nurture them academically but also build character and instil good values.”

She adds that technically, home-based childcare providers should register with the Social Welfare Department, under the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, and attend a one-week basic childcare course.

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