NUMBER 823 8 SEPTEMBER CARE WORKERS (1983)
The Child Care Work Role
I see my role as adult, parent, peer, and therapist. It is interchangeable. It depends on the situation, on the child, on anything.
We asked our respondents whether or not they had a job description. About half in each sample indicated that such a description was in existence (Vancouver = 16, Inland = 15). While only one of the Interior sample claimed not to have read it, 8 of the Vancouver sample said that they had not. Our careful analysis of the audiotapes suggested that the role of the Child Care Worker involves: (1) establishing and maintaining the routine; (2) evaluating and assessing the child and other persons; (3) providing physical and recreational activities; (4) giving individual care; (5) developing relationships; (6) approaching tasks and activities from the child's point of view; (7) being available to the child and others; (8) counselling the child and other persons; (9) acting as a person who helps co-ordinate the child's activities among various institutions and organizations; (10) parental substitution; (11) disciplining the child; (12) giving therapy to the children and others; (13) providing an adult role model; (14) working with the family of the child; (15) training and having charge of staff and others; and (16) working as a team member. In our extended report of this project we support each of the above with direct quotations from those interviewed.
The Qualities Required of a Child Care Worker
The children need somebody alive and smiling and healthy.
It was important for us to learn what the members of our sample thought about the qualities seemingly necessary in the child care worker. To some degree this question was covered under the role of the worker discussed above. If we know what roles have to be performed it follows that we require to have as workers persons capable of exhibiting those qualities. Yet our respondents often said things which added considerably to our understanding of the matter. From reading the transcripts, we came to the conclusion that an ideal worker must have a good number of the following qualities: 1) self discipline; 2) ability to observe critically; 3) ability to form relationships; 4) personal stability; 5) ability to accept others;
6) physical and emotional stamina; 7) ability to deal with critical incidents; 8) a generally positive and optimistic approach to life; 9) patience; 10) flexibility; 11) empathy and understanding; 12) willingness to seek educational experience; 13) honesty; 14) sensitivity; 15) ability to work as part of a staff group;
16) ability to give of oneself; 17) a sense of humor; 18) beneficial life experiences; 19) energy; and
20) commitment to and interest in children.
J.B. RATHBUN, C.D. WEBSTER and E. TAYLOR
Rathbun, J.B., Webster, C.D. and Taylor, E. (1983) The nature of child care work: Structured interviews withy sixty randomly selected workers from British Columbia. Journal of Child Care, vol.1 no.4