Have you decided that you will further your studies and complete a qualification in children's services? There are two options to choose from. Firstly are you thinking of going to TAFE to complete your childcare course or should you do your child-care course via correspondence. Well whichever option you choose, the qualification in children's services you receive at the end of the course is exactly the same. Some people have a misconception that if you go to TAFE you learn more than doing a course via correspondence. That is definitely not the case. The choice is completely based on your own circumstances.
Please note: When I refer to TAFE in this article I actually mean the TAFE classes that you will need to attend on a daily basis.Recently when I researched on the internet I found out that some TAFE institutions in Australia offer online/correspondence courses in childcare studies. The main reason of this article is to give you a better understanding before you decided to do a course in early childhood studies either at home or going to classes.
What is correspondence/online?
Well basically completing a certificate 3, a diploma or early childhood degree through distance learning. The modules and assignments based on children's learning are sent to you and you complete them at home and send them back via email, post or fax, rather than going to a traditional classroom and being taught by a teacher.
Benefits Of Completing A Child Care Course Through Correspondence/Online
- You can complete the assignments you will receive in the comfort of your own home.
- You can work out your own study schedule. If you have kids or work full time in a childcare center you can study at a time that best suits you.
- With transport and petrol expenses being so expensive these days, you save money on a daily commute to a campus.
- Studying in childcare through correspondence enables you to study at your own pace.
- If you decided to go on a holiday you don't have to worry about “missing classes” during your childcare course through correspondence.
- All items are sent to you
- All you need is an internet connection
What is TAFE?
Studying a child care course through TAFE allows you to be “on campus” and attend classes and learn from a teacher. The classes you will have to attend will either be full time or part time. If you attend full time classes (almost every day) the course will be completed in less time than if you complete the course through part time study (once or twice a week including weekends). You will be taught by an experienced teacher who has completed their bachelor of early childhood and be in a classroom environment.
Benefits Of Completing A Child Care Course Through TAFE
- Access to all TAFE libraries in your state in Australia.
- Receive a range of benefits from the Australian government including financial assistance, childcare and travel concessions (depending on your circumstances).
- Participate in sporting, recreational and social events at TAFE.
- Meet a range of different people.
Correspondence/Online VS TAFE in Childcare Studies
As you can see there are great benefits in completing your childcare course through Correspondence/Online or TAFE. It really depends on your own circumstances, whether which option is best for you.
When considering doing your childcare studies through Correspondence it is important to have self discipline and make the time to sit down and study. Yes, you don't have to worry about the deadline but you have to complete the course in a certain amount of time (usually the certificate 3/ diploma of children's services takes around 1-3 yrs to complete).
If you are working in child care this option allows you to study without having to leave work. If you are somebody who always leaves things to the last minute well then you will definitely find it challenging. You need to make sure you arrange time each and every day (even 2 hrs is enough) to complete the assignments from the modules you will receive. You will have plenty of support from the correspondence institute who will answer any questions on the assignments you may have. This option is best suited for those of you who will make the time to complete the childcare course and don't have the option of attending traditional classes based on circumstances or preferences.
When considering doing your childcare studies through TAFE it is important to realize that you will be attending classes either full time or part time. If you are not currently working or find it easier to learn in a classroom environment well this option will benefit you. Some people better understand with a teacher “teaching” and discussing topics rather than sitting at home studying.
Having that face to face contact with the teacher and the students, for some people, are a great tool for learning rather than teaching yourself and having to contact via email, fax or post. Part of going to TAFE is the social interactions with fellow students, whether working in small groups or discussing topics, this provides you with a different point of view which will help you create a better understanding. This option is best suited for those of you who like to learn from a teacher in a classroom environment and have the time to attend classes during the day.
From Personal Experience
I had completed my diploma of children's services through correspondence. I was working full time so I didn't have the option of going to TAFE. I definitely looked into it and considered doing part time classes. Then I thought by the time I got home after work I will be too tired to sit in a classroom in the evening and listen to a teacher. Distance learning was a better option for me to choose. On the weekend I spent most of the day completing assignments. Yes, there is a lot of theory and assignments involved but if you have been working in this industry for awhile and you are confident at your job, the assignments are not difficult at all. When I didn't understand what the question was, I would simply send an email to the advisor who would reply back (usually very promptly) with a suggestion. At first I did find it hard to balance wok, study and family time but after a couple weeks I got into a routine and I stuck with it. I also made myself small goals to achieve while I was studying which helped a great deal. Due to my circumstances I chose to do correspondence, it suited my time and my lifestyle.
While you are deciding which option is best, keep in mind due to tough competition right now between many educational institutions offering courses in childcare you may also receive additional benefits in doing either correspondence or TAFE that I haven't covered in this article. So my advice to you is - do your research on which study option is best for you and your lifestyle.