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E uropean conference. Quality employment in care work with young children. Brussels, 21 & 22 April 2008. Workshop. Perspectives on care work with young children An inspiring transnational issue…. 4 Development Partnerships. Ecce Ama Childcare in learning networks (Belgium NL)

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Perspectives on care work with young children

An inspiring transnational issue…

4 development partnerships
4 Development Partnerships
  • Ecce Ama Childcare in learning networks

(Belgium NL)

  • Une ardeur d’enfance (Belgium FR)
  • CO.P.IN - Cooperare per l’Infanzia (Italy)
  • QUALIflex - Qualität und Flexibilität in der

Kinderbetreuung (Luxembourg)

General objective

Try to make a contribution to policy development regarding the professionalisation of care work with young children at both national and European levels

4 topics 1 document
4 topics – 1 document
  • Core Tasks and Qualifications in Childcare
  • Comparing Training Paths in the Field of Childcare
  • A European Perspective on Professionalism in Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Accreditation of Prior Learning

to enable the reader to understand some of the key elements

of childcare work…

core tasks and qualifications in childcare
Core Tasks and Qualifications in Childcare
  • The European Qualifications Framework as a promising tool
  • The current situation regarding qualification levels in professional childcare versus what is required for quality childcare
  • Professionalisation of childcare : a political issue
No curriculum for children in the 4 regions involved


We were able to compile a description of the

different roles existing within childcare and their

core tasks :

  • three roles that involve direct contact with children in early childcare :
    • Childcare workers
    • Out of school care workers
    • Family day carers
supervisory and coordination roles, as well as transversal and logistical professions such as maintenance, bookkeeping and administration

In a childcare centre, four coordination roles exist:

    • General management of the centre
    • Pedagogical management
    • Network management and external contacts
    • On-the-job training
how can childcare qualifications be compared
How can childcare qualifications be compared ?
  • Difficulties : dangers of generalisation or normative conclusions (we don’t want to suggest that the use of competences profiles results in better childcare)
  • BUT the aim of “Improving Childcare” project is to compare countries in order to develop a European policy on childcare professionalism

 using competences profiles is just one amongst several ways of comparing the situation in different countries !

Professional competency profile = detailed list of the knowledge, skills and competencies that are required for the various tasks within a role
  • The EQF (European Qualifications Framework) = reference framework that allows so-called “competency clusters” to be measured on a scale with eight levels.
The criteria for determining the level are:

1. What level of knowledge is required?

2. What skills are required?

3. To what extent does context matter?

4. What degree of autonomy is required?

By comparing the descriptions of the core tasks to the

descriptions of the eight levels from the EQF, one can

estimate the EQF-level to which the role corresponds

  • unorthodox use of the EQF: used as a “common language” when discussing about professionalism and qualifications in the childcare workforce
  • Level of qualification is often not in proportion with the requirements of the job
  • Greater diversity among the children attending the childcare centres
  • Expectations of children, their parents and the society are changing with regard to childcare

the childcare workforce requires new competencies and qualities

comparing training paths in the field of childcare
Comparing Training Paths in the Field of Childcare


  • Differences and fragmentation in the provision of childcare services as to goals (care vs. education) and the age range of the children (0-3; 0-12; 0-6)
  • Great number of professions within the childcare sector, with very different school/training curricula and professional skills
  • Lack of skills standards for professions in the childcare sector
  • Differences in the legal framework regulating education and vocational training
Many differences still characterise the levels of training and qualification of the workforce involved in the provision of care and educational services.
  • Only a minority of member States has produced legislative frameworks for training and the assessment of qualifications in the childcare sector and defined career paths that can help the workforce access management roles
Different paths can be followed to access childcare work
  • Despite its importance, in-service training is not compulsory everywhere + often no set standards as to duration and contents of training
  • Lack of standardisation for professional profiles
  • Care and education needs should be integrated,even in childcare services for the age range 0 - 3.
  • Education should be offered to unqualified childcare workers, allowing both horizontal mobility and vertical mobility
Professional profiles should undergo adaptation to reflect the present different approach to childcare, mixing care and pedagogical role of the service
a european perspective on professionalism in early childhood education and care
A European Perspective on Professionalism in Early Childhood Education and Care

Growing consensus within Europe regarding

the necessity of improving professionalism

in the childcare sector

BUT no agreement regarding how this

improvement should occur

Professionalism in childcare encompasses various dimensions: the professionalization of the staff members, of the activities and of the organizations
Better define the concept of professionalism in the professions dealing with young children

 Childcare is in need of a professionalism in which the use of emotions is given an important place

in the work with children and their parents

A new concept of professionalism in care work with young children must be based on a gender-neutral concept:
    • Climate in the training courses and the facilities must change
    • Presence of male staff members and active involvement of fathers in the facilities are essential
    • Childcare facilities and schools must adapt the infrastructure and the working conditions to the male staff members and male students who are doing internships
Coherent models of professionalism: a comparative overview is given of the professionalization of the childcare professions in England, France, New Zealand and Denmark
  • See the book for more details (Jan Peeters, 2008)
an interview manual for identifying and highlighting family day carers competences
An interview manual for identifying and highlighting family day carers’ competences
  • Important note :

Primary function of this method: raise awareness,

to ensure that family day carers better understand the

importance and need of improving their skills and

knowledge. From this perspective, this method is the first

step in implementing thinking in terms of competences,

and finding the means for assessing and accrediting



An interview-manual (questionnaire and its


  • Why?

To establish the personal and professional

profile of the family day carer and, more

specifically, to identify and highlight his/her

concrete experiences in order to evaluate how this

profile corresponds to the profile expected to work

as a family day carer

3 levels of work
3 levels of work :
  • In practice: testing

social workers and ONE’s advisory agents

  • Workshops: briefing-adaptation-guidance

social workers and ONE’s advisory agents+Promemploi+ONE

  • Regulation meetings : assessment - preparation of the next meeting – adjustment

Promemploi + ONE

an approach a tool 5 starting choices
An approach, a tool : 5 starting choices
  • Working first and foremost with the professionals who

currently coordinate and supervise family day carers

  • Basing their work on existing selection tools and


  • Creating a progressive tool that can be used throughout a family day carer’s career path
  • Designing a scheme that takes changing context into


  • Proposing a scheme that takes a long-term view
structure of the questionnaire
Structure of the questionnaire
  • 33 questions
  • 4 parts
    • Personal background and professional goals
    • Working with the children
    • Working with the parents
    • Working with colleagues, managers or supervisory persons/institutions
guidelines how to efficiently use the tool
Guidelines How to efficiently use the tool?
  • Comments included in the questionnaire for guiding the interviewer
  • Guidelines draw attention to the various moments and conditions in which the questionnaire is used, the effects expected and those produced by the choices offered