HiMama is improving learning outcomes for children zero to five. We support early childhood education because the sector is the most challenging teaching environment. Low wages, lack of professional development and long days; HiMama’s aim is to ease childcare management and support early childhood professionals.
The HiMama team firmly believes that early childhood professionals deserve to be celebrated and that recognition is important. Our Educator Spotlight is one way we are shining a light on the important and undervalued work of childcare professionals.
Tamara did not start her career in early years, in fact after leaving school she studied for 3 Years to be a chef, but decided early on that hospitality was not for her. For the next 17 years, she worked and travelled extensively as a make up artist. However, combining this with a family was very challenging and after the birth of her second child in 2005, she made the decision to set up her own childminding business.
CHALLENGES IN EARLY EDUCATION
The challenges Tamara describes are familiar to many early childhood professionals. She reflected on three challenges that increase the daily difficulties present in early learning environments:
- Paperwork: “Staying on top of the phenomenal amount of paperwork that is required is very challenging. I’m currently considering going paperless and using an online company as a way of reducing the work load”.
- Hours: “My hours are very long and can be exhausting”.
- Isolation: “It can be quite lonely and isolating. But, I am a member of the local childminding network and this is a great support”.
NEGATIVE VIEW OF CHILDMINDERS
Society often has a negative view of childminders. Some of Tamara’s former colleagues could not understand her new career choice and actually thought Childminder’s were just babysitters who sat at home all day, watched children play and drank tea. Many people are unaware that Childminders are registered with Ofsted and are inspected in exactly the same way as a nursery or pre school; they follow the EYFS Early Years Foundation Stage. Childminders undergo extensive training and work to a high standard to provide professional quality childcare.
“Being an early years childcare provider is the most fulfilling and rewarding job in the world and it’s a real privilege to observe a child’s growth, learning development and interests and to then use this information to plan appropriate, exciting activities and experiences for them”, says Tamara.
Tamara has a creative background and love to plan and share fun filled creative activities with the children.
Tamara is passionate about the natural environment and is a member of the Forest Childcare Association, which is considered a best practice initiative for early years providers who want to provide regular trips to explore and learn in nature. Tamara believes it is about giving children the opportunity to explore and discover the great outdoors, where they can manage their own risks and where they can learn to appreciate and care for the natural environment around them. Forest childcare is based on ideas practiced by Scandinavian Forest schools.
Tamara believes that good communication with parents is crucial for the well being of the child. “Parents will know their child best and unless there is a sharing of information between myself and a parent then a child’s learning needs will be nether fully understood nor, ultimately met”, says Tamara. Tamara keeps parents well informed about their child’s development and they understand her approach to their child’s learning. Tamara compiles a daily diary and learning journey folder for every child, which details their development with photos, observations, development trackers and samples of their work. Tamara regularly shares this with the parents.
TAMARA’S CAREER GOALS
Right now, Tamara is committed to developing her childcare business and will continue to attend regular training events to keep up to date in all changes of childcare and to keep her approach fresh. “Perhaps in the future I might even set up my own Forest school”, says Tamara.
Do you have an educator you think should be in our Educator Spotlight? Contact us today and let us know!