Using Schon’s (1986) reflection on and in action I will reflect on why less qualified and less experienced staff are placed within the younger children play rooms in nurseries. Not only in the placement that I was in but in other nurseries around the UK, there are staff who have basic qualifications in child care looking after children who need the most care. I found this to be strange within placement and reflected in action that it may be because the Staff who are less qualified within the placement setting were the youngest and so they had the energy levels associated with young children aged 12 months to 3 years. However on further reflection, reflection on action, I started to reconsider this when I found other students also had the lower qualified staff with the youngest children – and they were not the youngest staff members.
The youngest children come with the most need for risk assessment and policies affecting their health and safety. When children are this young not all information regarding the children has been compiled yet. Allergic reactions for example may not have been discovered and so a knowledge of first aid, food hygiene and emergency procedures – these require training. Another could be the rules and regulations of putting children to sleep for nap time – there is a lot of complications that can occur and training needs to be utilised to concur any risks. As well as these, other more mundane everyday tasks also require risk assessments, on the job evaluation and re-evaluation, reflection and planning that although can happen through experience, it is considered to be at a greater understanding and depth if there is an accredited qualification alongside.
To work within the early years there is pressure and stress from all angles. Parents, colleagues, management, media, Government and OFSTED are all chucking policies and questions and liability at you from all directions. To work with the youngest of the young I believe would create more pressure. Especially when you consider the media and the cases that have come into light regarding child abuse and neglect within nurseries; the majority of all children harmed are under 3 years of age putting the pressure onto those within the nursery rooms. With this pressure you would expect the pay to reflect this as it would in any job – high stress, responsibility and pressure = more money. However, as the staff have lower qualifications they do not qualify for the higher pay brackets and so the job is being performed by underpaid and under-qualified people.
To combat this it is important for the need of further training provided by the management. To be a good practitioner, knowledge and experience is needed and to give continuous professional development within the setting not only will increase the likelihood of better knowledge but also less stress and pressure creating a better environment for the children to be cared for within. It could be argued that business nurseries do not want to increase the staff’s training because it would mean they would be paid more… however the jump from unqualified/level 3 to qualified at a higher level is only 9p an hour. Although that is a small amount, nurseries would have to pay for training and keeping them up – to –date however I believe that this needs to be done as children need that knowledge gained through training. That is the difference between a babysitter and a professional.
In conclusion I believe practitioners should only be deemed as such if they continue their professional development and this is done through CPD.