My Education: Associates in Lib Arts, Katherine Gibbs.
My Prior Experience: I worked in the mutual fund industry, took time off to care for children and now work at a Y.
My Company: The Y works with various towns to promote wellness and healthy living.
Job/Career Overview: When I first started at the Y, I worked in the babysitting room. I cared for infants as young as 6 weeks and children up to the age of 12. I was responsible for their well being and keeping them happy and somewhat entertained.
I then started working in the enrichment programs teaching everything from art, gym to music classes. I was able to create my own classes from Pirates to Superheros. By getting to know the children, I could tailor my classes to their needs. If a child wanted to do more dancing in Music class, I'd put on fun music and we could dance around the room. If a child wanted more time to explore the instruments and shake the maracas, bang on the bongos, keep the beat to a drum, crash a symbol, etc.
On a typical day, I set up the gym with an obstacle course full of flat mats, rectangle mats, wedges, trampolines, slides, etc. I then walk the children through the course and engage them in other activities such as running, jumping, hopping anything to get their bodies moving appropriately. After that we have Circle time and sing songs, dance and get out the parachutes. We sing more shaking the parachute type songs and we take turns running under the parachute, hiding under it, etc.
More Insights: I didn't know how much the children would talk about me at home and how my name is brought up a lot at their 'dinner table' when they are telling siblings/parents about their day. I am overjoyed to know that in some small way, they have benefited from taking one of my classes.
A misconception is that ANYONE can do this job. I think you have to have a natural ability to connect with children and their parents. Even if you have a child who is not not your favorite, you cannot let them know that. Treat everyone fairly and kindly.
If I could have been directed towards nursing, I think that would have made an excellent career. Nurses are always needed, usually are well paid and are recognized by everyone as having a wonderful job.
I rate this career 7 out of 10.
The pay is the worst. Because we are non profit, I understand there is not a huge paycheck however I feel I'm not fairly compensated for the work that I do.
The best part of the job is being paid by seeing smiles on children's faces, parents who are enjoying their children completing tasks, taking on new challenges. I enjoy interacting with hundreds of children over the course of a year and getting to know their siblings when it's their turn to enjoy the Y programs.
Observe other teachers and the way they interact with children. Engage with the children and work on your teaching style. You have to be eye level so crouch down when you are talking with a small child (preschool age). Take available courses but try to do an internship with a Y or other type of facility so you can learn to work with the children appropriately. You may find you are better off working with an older contingent of children vs. you may have a knack for the little ones.