Child-care workers are responsible for educating and caring for children
in a variety of settings. They might work in day-care centers, preschools,
community centers, government agencies or large businesses that offer day
care to employees.
Child-care workers can specialize. For instance, there are day-care workers,
preschool helpers, special needs workers, day-care supervisors and specialists
in child and youth care. Many own and direct their own private facilities.
The majority of people in this field work in primary care or the day-to-day
care of children. Everyday activities include:
Child-care workers often work 40 to 50 hours a week and their days can
be strenuous. A typical day consists of many different activities and can
be physically demanding. From providing activities and supervising children
to cleaning up messes and chasing after kids, there's not a lot of time for
these workers to sit down.
With increasing work demands being placed on parents, day-care workers
can also expect to work on holidays, weekends and evenings.
Karen Eilersen owns a day care. "It's not the kind of job where you leave
at the end of the day and you're done," she says. "You take work home, you
work on the weekends, [and] you're constantly thinking about what you're going
to be doing. I really think in order to be good at it, you have to be willing
to give it more than the eight hours a day that you're paid for."
Despite the fact that child-care workers have a very important role in
our society, experts say it's an undervalued job, with low pay and little
Larry Brown is the owner and director of a day care. He thinks people should
invest as much money in preschool children as they do in college students.
Brown argues that most men are probably discouraged by the infamous low
wages in the industry. "I can't imagine a guy going into this," he says. "It
just wouldn't pay enough."
Eilersen doesn't foresee a change in the percentage of men in the field.
"I don't think it will change until the pay changes. I really believe that
men will say no to being paid low wages -- they have to support families,"
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Look after children in a variety of settings
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Child Care Workers
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