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Getting Started As An FDC Educator

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As an FDC Educator, you educate and care for children in your own home. Essentially you are running your own FDC service. You are solely responsible for the children in your care.

There are so many benefits of working as an FDC Educator. One of the main ones is working from your own home and you are your own boss. You run the show. You can make all the decisions about how your service is run (as long as they fall within regulation).

Since the ratio is lower, you can take children on regular outings and adventures such as playgroup, to the supermarket, story time at the library, to the zoo, the aquarium - it's a great opportunity for children to experience the real world, discover and understand concepts through observations and hands on experience.

Working as an FDC Educator, it is a very relaxed workplace, you work at your own pace, in your own way.

*For those Educators who have left the industry due to the numerous reasons (low pay, conflict with staff), please consider FDC. It's a great chance for you to continue your passion working with children, in a less stressful environment*

Being A Family Day Care Educator

To be a family day care educator you must:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • have a current working with children check
  • have a criminal history record check
  • hold a current approved first aid qualification
  • have undertaken current approved anaphylaxis management training
  • have undertaken current approved emergency asthma management training;
  • have, or be actively working towards, at least an approved certificate III level education and care qualification*
  • hold insurance against public liability with a minimum cover of $10,000,000.

*Under the National Quality Framework (NQF), a person is a certificate III qualified educator if they:

  • hold an approved certificate III qualification, OR
  • hold a former approved certificate III level qualification completed before 1 January 2012, OR
  • hold a qualification that ACECQA has determined to be an equivalent certificate III level educator qualification.

Choosing An Approved Family Day Care Service

So, now that you have your qualification and necessary requirements, you are ready to go ahead with becoming an FDC Educator, you will need to find an approved family day care service (scheme).

The Approved FDC Service, should support you to:

  • Understand your legal requirements
  • Meet your obligations under the National Quality Framework
  • Provide a quality learning environment that is safe, stimulating and inclusive
  • Access professional development
  • Be part of the family day care service network and work collaboratively
  • Not feel isolated

Methods of support include:

  • Regular face-to-face home visits
  • Opportunities for educators to build their professional knowledge
  • Access to resources and equipment to support children’s play and learning
  • Regular playgroup sessions
  • Clear guidelines relating to grievances or complaints

Note: Individual family day care educators do not need a provider or service approval but need to be engaged by, or registered with, an approved provider and meet the requirements.

FDC Educator Potential Earning and Costs

Earning as a family day care educator vary depending on range of factors including:

Scheme -  An FDC educator cannot work for themselves they must work for an approved provider with a scheme (service). A scheme will usually have one of two fee schedules for their educators:

  • A set range – A minimum and or maximum hourly fee range for example $5.00-$10.00 an hour per child OR
  • Educator fees – Each individual educator will set their own fees as they see fit. This is usually a set price for example $8 an hour per child

If there is a fee range an educator must set their hourly fee within the range. Individual educator fees vary depending on the educator.

Levies -  All schemes will charge an administration levy. The administration levy covers various costs. This levy is paid by the parent Some schemes may charge an educator levy is also. The purpose of this levy can be to cover the cost of training or provide paperwork etc. 

Remuneration - The educators remuneration or their actual earnings will be the hourly fee minus any levies. For example: 

  • The hourly fee is $8 per child per hour
  • The administration levy is $1 and the educator levy is .50c - for a total of $1.50
  • $8 - $1.50 = remuneration = $6.50 per child per hour

Your remuneration, number of days a week you wish to work and the number of children and hours you will have them for will give a rough estimate of annual income.

Remember there are deductions available, talk with your tax accountant or an accountant that specializes in FDC to learn more on what claims can be made on expenses. This will give you a clear idea of what to expect and how to manage budgets.

Standard, Minimum Care Hours and Extras

  • Standard hours exist in most scheme policies. For example 8AM-5PM. Outside of these times, overnight, on weekends, public holidays etc the hourly rate will be more.
  • Minimum hour policies can vary from scheme to scheme.
  • Some schemes will allow educators to set minimum hours, others will not.
    Generally in family day care food and drink, nappies, wipes etc are provided by the parent. Some educators will provide the above, but most schemes prefer to have these as additional costs on top of an hourly fee the same as transport to and from kinder or school costs extra. The scheme sets the policy on all of the above and educators must adhere to the policies.
  • Educators fee - Generally speaking an educators fee should reflect factors such as their experience, qualifications environment and the quality of their program and the activities offered. Other factors may include location and extras provided by the educator.
  • The schemes NQS rating may also be reflected in the price.
  • The children’s services award does not apply to FDC educators, only FDC management (person(s) in charge and educator support staff).
  • Specific information is sometimes provided after an educator joins a scheme and a parent is enrolled, so if you want details then ask beforehand.

How Many Children Can You Look After?

As an FDC Educator, you can educate and care for no ore than 7 children at your home based service. This includes:

  • no more than 4 children preschool age or under
  • your own children and any other children at the residence if those children are under 13 years of age and there is no other adult present and caring for children.

Creating A Safe and Educational Environment

As an FDC Educator, you will would be required to provide a safe, stimulating and educational learning environment. For example in terms of safety requirements:

  • rooms that are well ventilated with natural light and a safe temperature
  • outdoor areas secured by a fence (height and design prevent
  • children from going through, under or over the fence)
  • Suitable and sufficient furniture, materials and developmentally appropriate equipment
  • laundry and hygiene facilities don't pose a risk to children.
  • children can access toilets and hand washing facilities
  • safe and suitable nappy change arrangements
  • all water features and swimming pools are adequately fenced
  • pets/animals kept separate from children to protect their health and safety
  • glassed areas must be glazed or blocked to prevent injury from shattering
  • premises, furniture and equipment to be safe, clean and in good repair
  • a first aid kit accessible to adults present
  • a telephone or any other immediate communication method to contact parents and emergency services

Your approved service will do an assessment of your residence and advise of any changes that may be required.

You will also need to provide a variety of resources/materials and set up environments such as:

Indoor

  • cots/bedding
  • high chairs
  • tables and chairs
  • shelving
  • a sign in area and place to put bags and belongings
  • a noticeboard with all relevant information
  • kids table and chairs
  • classic toys such as blocks, train set, dolls etc
  • home corner with kitchen, baby things etc
  • quiet area with board games, puzzles or a dolls house
  • shelf or box with books and a place to sit and read such as mat
  • space with dress ups, musical instruments or a castle
  • toys such as racing cars, soft toys, phones, activity cubes, figurines etc.
  • arts and crafts materials for example paint, pencils, crayons, scissors, glue stick, paste, paper and items such as pom poms, paddle pop sticks, feathers, pipe cleaners, glitter etc.
  • a bunch of natural and recycled materials
  • tents, tunnels, art work, posters, child friendly pets, greenery indoors (potted plants) and other interesting things which elevate the space.

Outdoors

  • adequate shade
  • grassed area
  • play equipment such as cubby house, swing set or slide
  • an outdoor kitchen, sand or mud pit
  • a garden bed with flowers, plants, fruits and vegetables etc.
  • sport equipment such as balls, skipping ropes or hula hoops
  • trikes

Note: This is just an example, you have the flexibility and the choice to set up environments and materials based on your own home service requirements.

Your approved provider will conduct as assessment (and risk assessment) of your residence to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the children in your care.

Policies and Procedures

Your approved provider must ensure that your service has in place policies and procedures.

The policies and procedures must be available at your residence and accessible by all educators, staff, volunteers and families:

Health and Safety

  • Nutrition, food and beverages, dietary requirements
  • Sun protection
  • Water safety, including during any water based activities
  • Administration of first aid
  • Incident, injury, trauma and illness procedures
  • Dealing with infectious diseases
  • Dealing with medical conditions in children
  • Emergency and evacuation
  • Delivery of children to and collection of children from the premises
  • Excursions
  • Providing a child safe environment

Staffing

  • A code of conduct for staff
  • Determining the responsible person present at the service
  • The participation of volunteers and students on practicum placements
  • Interactions with children
  • Enrolment and orientation
  • Governance and management of the service, including confidentiality of records
  • The acceptance and refusal of authorisations
  • Payment of fees and provision of a statement of fees charge by the service
  • Dealing with complaints
  • Assessment, approval and reassessment of approved family day care venues and residences
  • Engagement or registration of family day care educators
  • Keeping of a register of family day care educators
  • Monitoring support and supervision of family day care educators
  • Assessment of family day care educators, family day care educator assistants and persons residing at family day care residences
  • Visitors to family day care residences and approved venues while education and care is being provided
  • The provision of information, assistance and training to family day care educators
  • The engagement or registration of family day care educator assistants

More Information On FDC 

On our Aussie Childcare Network forum, there are a variety of topics which answers a ton of questions that you may have regarding being an FDC Educator. The information given is by FDC Educators currently working in the industry, so I encourage you to read the following topics to gain a better understanding of becoming an FDC Educator. 

Becoming an FDC Educator enables you to work comfortably within your home environment and be in charge of all aspects of children's education and care. For those Educators with children, it gives you a chance to also include them in your care. It's a great opportunity for you to continue your passion, caring and educating a small group of children and form an incredible and long lasting bond with them and their families.

Please note: The information provided is to be used as a general guideline only and for informational purposes. For those interested in becoming an FDC Educator please contact your nearest approved FDC Service to find out more detailed information.

References:

  • Guide To Family Day Care Educators, Education Victoria 
  • Family Day Care Fees, Aussie Childcare Network Forum 
  • Getting Started, Family Day Care Australia
  • Assessment Of FDC Residents, ACECQA
  • Benefits Of FDC, Family Day Care Australia 
  • Family Day Care, Happy Campers FDC
  • How To Start Your Own Family Day Care, Inspire Education 
Last modified on Sunday, May 2, 2021
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