How do you know a good Child Care course?

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How do you choose a quality Early Childhood Education course?

Gowrie Victoria has been delivering training in early childhood and school age education and care since 1939. With a commitment to our Purpose [For those who teach and care for children, Gowrie Victoria champions good early childhood care and education. Because when children learn we all grow] we care about the quality of accredited training within the sector.

But how do you, a learner wanting to start a career in Early Childhood Education, or a professional wanting to upskill your qualification, decide on what child care course Training Provider to choose for your study?

We suggest you ask Training Providers the following questions to help you determine if they deliver a good course. You can also download a copy of these questions here.

What is the experience of your Trainers?

Your trainers, delivering the accredited course, should be experienced in the Early Childhood Education sector and care about how you will fit in to working in the sector. Not everyone is suited to this work and the trainers should care about the people who will be looking after early and school age children’s education.

We suggest avoiding Training Providers that don’t screen you for suitability to the sector and their courses.

Will I get a job after getting the qualification?

Ethical training providers know what employers in the sector want from their staff and make sure that learners have enough practical experience to go into a child care centre, kindergarten or family day care operation.

Learners should graduate with the knowledge of what legal and ethical frameworks are needed to work safely and well with children.

Early childhood and school age education and care courses should cover the National Regulations, National Quality Standards (NQS), Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and the Code of Ethics and Rights of the child and families so learners understand how they apply to their work and what is required to be able to work effectively in the sector.

Don’t be afraid to ask how many learners get jobs after their course has finished

Also, find out how long the training organisation has been around. If they are only new this year, ask: what history do they have, how are they connected to the early childhood education and care sector, and why are they running the course.

What practical support will you provide me?

The course training should ensure you have regular practical placements in an early childhood setting. Placements need to be long enough for students to practise the skills they are learning and understand how they apply to a variety of children and situations. For a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, there should be 240 hours of practical placement; for the Diploma 360 hours of practical placement.

The course should send Assessors out regularly to ensure you are working effectively and applying your learning on the job. Learners should see their Assessor in their workplace at least 3 – 4 times during a Certificate III course and up to 8 times during a Diploma qualification.

How will I be supported during the course?

Ideally there will be some form of study support during your accredited training course, if you need it. All courses will ask you to complete a Literacy and Numeracy support proforma and this should be used to identify if you need additional assistance in your study.

The course should not only cover the competencies required for the qualification – which is basic to any qualification – but it should also be tailored to help you understand what the competency means when you apply it.

All courses will offer an individual training plan (they have to) but ask what that plan looks like and how it applies to you, your needs and your learning style. This is a good way of telling the good courses from the not-so-good ones.

The Literacy and Numeracy information should also be used to assist in developing your plan.

Staff in the training organisation should be approachable and help learners with advice and support if needed or, at least, be able to refer students to someone who can help at the time help is needed.

What types of training do you offer learners?

Early Childhood Education and Care qualifications should provide a variety of learning experiences for the learner. These could include:

  • Face-to-face training in the classroom
  • On-the-job, practical placement
  • On-the-job assessments
  • Online resources and forums
  • Projects and assignment work to be completed outside of the classroom as students develop experience and skill
  • Look for courses that provide a variety of learning experiences that fit with your learning style and preferences.

Can I do the qualification online?

If the qualification is only online and you never interact with other learners or trainers or assessors, you are not likely to get the richness of experience that you need to operate successfully in the sector. Sometimes online qualifications are very convenient and fit in with your lifestyle. However, the key thing is getting the experience on-the-job that you need to work effectively with children.

What about your price?

It’s very hard to tell from the price of a course whether you will get good training or not. Some very expensive courses do not provide good quality training and some less expensive courses will provide quality training.

It is best to ask about the areas indicated above, but be aware that sending staff out to assess students regularly is more costly than running classroom based programs or online self-paced programs.