I am Adeline! A mum, nanny, and early years course tutor. During the courses I teach, I meet a lot of au pairs and nannies who need support navigating their chosen career. I have always loved assisting others, that is partly why I chose this career path myself. But unfortunately for most, finding someone who supports your job, really understands the ins and outs of the role, and takes your career seriously is difficult.
Let me start with my background, so I can explain how I got to where I am now. 18 years ago, in the summer of 2002, I completed the BTEC National Diploma in Early Years. This was an intensive 2-year college course where 50% of my time was spent with supportive and knowledgeable tutors, and the other 50% in nurseries, schools and home-based placements where I had opportunities to put theory into practice.
Unfortunately, they just do not make courses like this anymore. I am also lucky that I have a supportive mum, who used to work at the local college and who helped me navigate the right education when I was just 15 years old! She understood me and knew about the different courses available.
After completing the course, I tried a few different roles and I also went to university for a short time to qualify as an early years teacher. However, I realised I was not 100% happy and so when I was 21 years old, I arrived in London, and it was the best decision I ever made.
I was young, naive, and needed to learn a lot more about the role of a nanny. I was extremely fortunate to find a family in Ravenscourt Park who were wonderful. I started as a live-in nanny/mother’s help to two boys aged 6 months and 2.5 years and have not looked back since! That was 15 years ago! And I have been a nanny ever since!
For the past 5 years I was lucky to share my experiences with others and started teaching CPD courses in maternity nurse training. I then wrote some courses that were accredited by the OCN and teach those regularly on weekends (in Understanding Sleep and the Common Core Skills nannies need to register with Ofsted).
Meeting nannies through my teaching takes me back to those first few years I spent in London. I was lucky. With a nationally recognised qualification, a good support network of nanny friends and family around me, and a well-spoken, British accent, I did not have much difficulty impressing agencies and potential nanny families. What I did find difficult were the people outside of the early years' industry who would not recognise my job as a career. Even friends wouldn’t take me seriously and when starting up conversations with people, as soon as I mentioned I was a nanny, I would get those typical responses… ‘oh you’re a babysitter,’... ‘but what do you actually do all day,’... or my favourite, ‘that’s nice’ and then the conversation would just stop.
Through conversations with students I teach today, it seems as though these perceptions of nannies are still the same. Only there are a lot more nannies these days from all over the world trying to navigate this chosen career path alone. These nannies do not have an instant support network. Some do not have qualifications recognised in this country and some do not even get the respect they deserve from families who employ them.
I find that even though I have core units that I teach in all my courses, it is the discussions on professional development and the personal stories of each individual nanny that make me keep teaching. Every class works together to support each other, and I try to offer as much advice as possible to empower these nannies to take charge of their careers. It is rewarding and fulfilling, and I always joke that I should start my own nanny counselling service!
I am so happy that BAPN is there to support nannies and especially at this time when there has been so much uncertainty regarding if we should work or not with the on-going pandemic. Nannies are the forgotten ones who do not have a union or voice when it comes to these matters. It is a sector that needs to be regulated. So, when I read that BAPN is looking for supporters for their Regulation Matters campaign, I held my hand up straight away to see if I could help.
Nannies do matter. Nannies do have rights. And being a nanny can be a life-long career. We carve out the care and education of children from the very beginning. So why isn’t it recognised or taken seriously?
Thank you BAPN for supporting nannies and trying to get this career regulated and supported.
Early years matters. Nannies matter. Regulation matters!
Find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/munchandscrunch/