I recently received an email from a nanny on LinkedIn asking about what educational classes she could take to make herself more marketable to parents. She’s starting school in the fall, working towards an ECE degree but in the meantime she wants to show parents she can do more than just “watch the kids”. I love getting emails like that! I’m so impressed by the new nannies coming into the industry that are excited about education and commited to doing a great job.
My advice is take a two prong approach. First, start gaining knowledge and I’ll talk about how in a minute. Second, start honing your job search skills so you can successfully convey your knowledge to agencies and parents through your job search portfolio and during the interview process. Having the knowledge will help you on the job but unless you’re able to translate what you know into how it will help the family, it won’t get you the job. And even once your on the job, it’s important to keep sharing with parents how what you’re learning is helping their family.
In-Person Trainings In Your Local Area
State’s Provider Education Program
In every state, licensed providers and unlicensed providers who receive state or federal reimbursement are required to complete a core competency course (usually 10 to 20 clock hours depending on the state) and take a set number of continuing educational hours each year. These trainings are led by quality trainers, are offered on a wide variety of subjects and are inexpensive (generally $10 to $15 per training hour). For nannies that haven’t taken basic child development, these trainings can be a great introduction to childcare and will provide the foundation you need for further learning.
To learn about the program in your state, contact your local resource and referral agency. You can find them by visiting childcareaware.org and typing in your zip code in the red box in the bottom right corner. Because nannies aren’t a formal part of these programs, ask your local resource and referral agency the best way to connect with local training opportunities.
National Nanny Training Day
National Nanny Training Day events happen in cities across the country and offer high quality, low cost training to nannies in their local communities in April of every year. These events are sponsored by local placement agencies and nanny support groups and are designed around the unique needs of nannies. Click here to see if there’s an event being planned in your area.
National Association for the Education of Young Children state and local events
NAEYC is my favorite childcare organization. They are the authority on pretty much everything childcare.
When you join the national organization, you get a membership in the state and local chapter as well. Local chapters generally offer regular half day and full day trainings. State chapters offer regional and state conferences where you’ll find lots of topics and networking opportunities.
National Association for Family Child Care local and state events
NAFCC is geared towards family child care providers but because that is so closely related to nanny care, their trainings often offer really great information. Non-members can generally attend local and state event although you’ll probably have to pay a slightly higher rate.
Because their goal is to give adult learners real life skills, community colleges often have certification programs in childcare. They’re typically reasonably priced, are scheduled on weekends and provide a great foundation for a career in childcare. To find one in your local area might take some foot work (goggle community colleges in YOUR AREA then check their site for adult learning or professional development offerings in childcare).
Local Nanny Groups
Many areas have a local nanny group that either offers training as part of the group’s benefits or keeps members informed about community training opportunities. Remember, many nanny groups are informally organized through facebook private groups these days so ask other local caregivers to find a group in your area.
Local Parenting Classes
Many nanny areas have great parent training too. Check out your local hospital, YMCA or community center, Jewish centers, and other mom hangouts to find some great training opportunities. Your local parenting tabloid, those free newspapers about kid stuff available in stories, often feature a calendar of events.
Online training is a great way to learn new skills, expand current ones and get specialized training. One of my favorites is Childcare Education Institute. A few others (recommended by Lisa Werth) are Childcare Lounge and Texas Department of Family and Protection Services (lots of free stuff here!).
NAEYC also offers many of their conference sessions as recorded online session.
National Conferences Not To Miss
I love conferences. I love all the new information, meeting new people and connecting with old friends, networking with colleagues around upcoming projects and the energy that comes from being around others that share your passion. If you can go to a national conference, these are my top two favorites. They both offer great programs at a reasonable price.
National Association for the Education of Young Children annual conference
This mega event is held in a different city each year in November. The national conference is the crown jewel of childcare events with over 1,000 workshops, 25,000 to 30,000 attendees and a multitude of offerings for every level from entry to expert. You really have to experience it to understand how amazing it is. (Can you tell I REALLY love it?)
The 2012 conference will be held in Atlanta, GA from November 7th to 10th and the 2013 conference will be held in Washington DC from November 20th to 23rd. I generally pull together nannies to attend as a group so watch for details starting mid-summer through my nanny email list.
This annual nanny conference has built a reputation for being crazy inexpensive while still offering a wide range of quality sessions that address the unique needs of nannies. It offers an informal, welcoming atmosphere and is a great place to get nanny specific training, network with caregivers from across the country and just have fun.
The 2012 conference will be held in Philadelphia, PA from October 13th and 14th. Because it’s held over a weekend, you can attend without missing work. For more information, check out the Nannypalooza conference page. And look for me there!
So what kind of training should you look for?
You should always start with the fundamentals. It’s essential that you have a solid understanding of child development. Not only is it important for the most obvious reasons, it also serves as the basis for additional training.
After that, your best bet is to take training specific to the ages you care for (or want to care for), that deal with behavior issues specific to your preferred age group and approaches that line up with your developing caregiving philosophy like Positive Discipline, Love and Logic or RIE.