It is wonderful here in ChildForum to share with you news items, articles and reports on staffing matters that help to inform and can make a difference.
Around the country labour shortages are reported in many different sectors. In early childhood education we are starting to see this too.
The government is not planning to make necessary changes to avert a labour shortage in early childhood education from developing. As the labour shortage grows this will impact on the quality of care and education provided to children and the ability of services to continue to operate. Foreign teachers could be used to fill the vacancies, but that is a costly approach unless they are paid cheaply which is not fair and doesn't address quality issues.
So what can we do in early childhood education to interest job seekers to join us, to come back to working in early childhood education after leaving, and to keep the staff and volunteers we have?
Is your service a bully-free place? Do your staff and volunteers receive training on manual handling for their health and safety? And what about pay levels - market rates can be interpreted as the lowest possible rate a person is willing to accept but that doesn't tell a person that he or she and their qualification is valued. Take a look at the items and articles below for some fresh ideas and to be reminded of things that we know but may overlook.
First, just a reminder for everyone that Matariki is coming up. Here's a link to the early childhood article on activity ideas and celebrating Matariki
2. Bullying in the workplace
A new report published this week on bullying. It looks at who bullies who and the different forms that bullying takes. Click here for the 10 page report on bullying
1. Overview of the key findings
2. Effects on children
3. Workplace professional and legal obligations
4. What makes the ECE workforce vulnerable
5. Recommendations arising from the survey findings on bullying
6. Description of the survey
(a) Bullying is a common experience of many in ECE
(b) Bullying is used as a tool to both manage and to get rid of teachers
(c) Teachers experience direct and more subtle forms of bullying
(d) Bullying from parents and caregivers happens
(e) Bullying can take the form of undermining the authority of owners and hurting service reputation
9. Where to go for help
10. Articles and other research on bullying in early childhood education
3. Preventing back, shoulder and other injuries
Working with children can be dangerous and result in personal injury - think about all the lifting, pulling, carrying, holding, getting up and off the floor, and pushing of carts etc, that you do.
It is costly to employers when staff are injured because staff may not be able to carry on with normal duties, they may need to take leave or find an alternative job.
The team at Edusafe help people working in an Early Childhood environment stay safe and help employers to comply with their legal responsibility, as per the Health and Safety at Work Act. They provide a 1 hour comprehensive online training for staff and volunteers that is easily accessible.
4. Throwing sexism out the window
Half of New Zealand's population is essentially excluded from working in early childhood education because of sexist assumptions that women are best suited to working with children and early childhood work is low level babysitting type work that is beneath men. Some men in starting work in early childhood centres are even openly discriminated against and told that because they are male they should not change children's nappies.
Your service can challenge this. Recruit male staff - talk with fathers, brothers, sons, with male students at your local high schools and colleges. Provide a place of employment and support a male to undertake teacher training.
5. Wage rates, conditions of work and job perks
This is one of the most used and referred to articles in early childhood education. We love the section at the end that discusses the building of a supportive professional atmosphere as key to keeping staff and being rated as important if not more important than wages.
6. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender staff
This article provides perspectives and will help you to toward ensuring inclusive employment practices, a respectful environment, and tips for supporting staff facing discrimination from parents or others.
7. Centre staffing at the beginning and end of the day and person responsible requirements
We get lots of questions about this and there are a few myths that need clearing up.
8. Job Interview Preparation and Questions
This article covers: what checks are likely to be done on you, possible interview questions, questions you might ask at the interview, tips for preparing, extra things you can do to really impress the person or people interviewing you
9. Non-contact time entitlements
Entitlements to non-contact time and issues for staff and employers.
10. Reasons for choosing to be a Home-based Educator - When you know it's the right choice
11. If you think working in ECE means being a teacher or educator only - think again
There are many career paths and people have seen a range of opportunities and worked to meet different needs in the sector.
12. Are you thinking of going on an OE or planning to return to NZ to teach?
This article covers key things to be aware of, plan for, do, and get evidence of, to reduce the possibility of disadvantage upon your return to NZ.
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