Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Higher education equals better experience
By Angela Lince
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Plattsburgh’s YMCA will be hosting an event, “Kids Night Out”, this Saturday Nov. 21st, which will allow school-aged children, 5 through 12, to swim, rock climb, play games and enjoy crafts while eating pizza. A fee of $13 will be given to members. Non-members must pay a fee of $15. Along with the YMCA’s enjoyable, stress-free environment, other programs in the Plattsburgh area target the same ideal concept: Child Day Care that enriches the lives of children.
Provided by the Clinton County Department of Social Service program, there is a “Child Care Development Block grant to working parents receiving financial assistance (TANF) or as a low income subsidy in an effort to assist them in becoming more self-sufficient. The family's eligibility for a child day care subsidy is based on their need and their household income. Child day care services are provided on either a formal or informal basis,” according to the Clinton County Department of Social Services website.
“Have the providers been given background checks? How do you know it’s safe? Is the education-portion of the day-care beneficial to my child?” These are very important questions you should be asking yourself before sending your child off to a local day-care facility.
Executive Director at Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country, Jamie Basiliere, is your guide to seeking out the best child-care options. Through the child-care and referral program, she provides on sight technical assistance to people and recruits child care directors. Basiliere explains that meeting qualifications in order to teach are very important. Depending on the situation, someone looking to pursue in a family day-care in their own home, must be 18 years of age, obtaining a high school diploma. You must attend an orientation / information session, complete an application packet, as well as, also becoming certified in CPR and 1st aid (up to date). The potential provider must also attend the 15 hour health and safety course. Once registered in all mentioned above, the person must have 30 hours of professional development, which must be done every 2 years.
Basiliere also introduced the situation in whether a person wants to work for a child-care center. A child care center is similar to SUNY Plattsburgh’s on-campus day-care, as well as the YMCA’S Bright Beginnings program. For these positions, you must have a college degree. According to the NYS Office of Children and Family Services’ regulations for child-care services, a group teacher for preschoolers (3 to 5 years old) must obtain only an Associate’s degree in either Early Childhood, Child Development or a related field. For a group teacher for infants/toddlers (6 weeks old through 2 years), you must have the same educational requirements as for preschool caring, except you must have one year experience related to caring for infants and toddlers.
Group teachers for school-age children (5 to 10 years old) must have an Associate’s degree in Child Development, Elementary Education, Physical Education, Recreation or a related field. Assistant teachers (all age groups) must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. There are other educational qualification choices for all potential teachers listed. Child-care center employees undergo a series of training, like one with family care would provide. Both share similar qualifications.
The Plattsburgh’s YMCA’s School-Age Child Care Director, Christina Santor, is responsible for the school-age child morning program. For the three years of her service there at the center, she’s been responsible for most of the enriching activities. She’s able to pick and choose which candidate would be right and able for job openings as well. When looking at a perfect resume, Santor expects to see “previous experience, a degree in education, human services, or any other that is equivalent.” If the person applying is still a student, for example, SUNY Plattsburgh’s education-opportunity for students called, “Project Connect”, she sees they can apply what they are currently learning to the job that’s being offered.
Human Development and Early Childhood Lecturer at SUNY Plattsburgh, Nancy Hughes, is a small part of something bigger at the college. Hughes prepares students for the real world of child-care. Her courses offer students the ability to understand child development (physically, cognitively, socially and emotionally). She teaches her students how to; develop plans, set up environment plans, develop schedules, understand the appropriate environment and materials, store things appropriately, as well as guide, prevent, and intervene a child’s behavior/misbehavior. From there, the course covers a child’s motor skills, as well as the math, science, literacy, art/music/drama criteria. Most importantly, the communication and work system held between the teacher and parent, as well as the understanding of children with special needs.
Hughes goal as the student’s professor is to “give them the capability of setting up an appropriate program for preschool children.”
“Misbehaviors are opportunities for learning,” Hughes says, stating how the quote has always stuck with her. “It’s a frequent reminder,” she adds.
Before teaching, potential employees must also undergo a series of background checks. Both Basiliere and Santor emphasized the importance of these precautions. There are mandatory criminal history statement form one must fill out (which is accompanied with a review), finger printing, external phone calls to professional references, and much more. All of these requirements make sure your child is safe.
Director of SUNY Plattsburgh’s Child Care Center, Sally Girard, says, "The ability of staff to provide young children with safe, healthy and good learning environments is clearly linked to their education and training in early childhood development, and their experience.”