I no longer work in chilcare (15 Oct 08) having just left a position at one of the UK's largest children's charities totally disillusioned with the way staff are treated and money handled. If you set up a charity, set it up as a co-operative so that everyone is there for your main purpose (not for the money (management) or to be unwittingly underpaid (staff) and neglected).
I loved my time at Kids United however and would work there again anytime! I also enjoyed the time I spent with the kids at my former workplace, they were great and deserve all the respect they can get for handling such difficult situations.
I Often Get Asked About Being A Man In Childcare
I am often asked (though not so often anymore now people know me) what it's like being a man in childcare. Sometimes I field comments like 'Oo you don't usually see men in after school clubs...' etc.
I recently visited a site called Men in Childcare and posted a message which I think sums up my feelings. Basically caring people are needed in childcare. Primarily, it doesn't matter whether they are male or female so long as the children are getting the best care possible. Here's a copy of that message about men working in childcare.
Help With Autistic Child Support
Most people respond to such requests with book recommendations but I firmly believe in sharing experience and although I have never worked with autistic children Laura has been able to put my words into action. Here's what she said followed by my email to her.
Some people have time to gather knowledge and put it into books. What you do today is done through knowledge gained before that book was published up to the present moment. What you do and share is worth a thousand books if it proves useful. That's why I choose to share the knowledge I've gained, measure it up, and be measured by it. :) And above all else I've made a new friend in Laura!
At Kids United!
March 25th, 2003 - Something to cheer us all up!
With all the war in Iraq and all the problems on the home front at the moment I thought I'd share a few things from Kids United rather than go on about them! Last week I did matchstick pictures with the kids. Here's my effort featuring a mother ship and several other flying saucers...
Over christmas we attempted to do some decorations that we hoped would end up see through for hanging on the christmas trees. I made a very poor attempt at doing rudolf! (They would have at least been translucent had we used a thinner layer of glue).
I work at Kids United in Kersal but it's so much fun I hardly consider it work at all! There are about 50 kids and we do all sorts of things from playing football, to piggy back rides, to art, to reading, to watching videos. You name it, if the kids want to do it, we'll probably find a way to do it with them!
I was really depressed before I started playwork. I didn't particularly like working full time on the computer and the thought of joining the rat race just appalled me. I was walking down the road one day and in my usual manner I burst into a smile when I saw a young kiddy in his pram with his mum. I thought, 'My God, why didn't I think of that before, I could work with kids!'.
I'd already sussed out that several part time jobs would seem the route to take for me as I'm a great all rounder and usually conquer the routine of any job with ease. This can make any job no matter how seemingly complex, routine and dull. Not playwork! Not kids! :)
Love, support and affection
Every day is different. Initially I had been looking at doing a PGCE but as only secondary school positions were available and no primary school positions I put the whole idea off for a bit. However, starting at Kids United was the best thing I have ever done!
Every day is fresh and new and totally rewarding. I try, as in all my walks of life, to share my knowledge and experience and gain the same from the kids' own unique perspective and experiences of life. We have total mutual repect based on honesty and trust. They know where I draw the line, they know the rules and they respect that there is an easy rule set to keep to that doesn't waver. With the ground rules established we have a GREAT time!!
It is however no substitute for seeing more of my son David. Something both he and I want to happen soon. Unfortunately we're having to go through solicitors to get it to happen and that's only to push it up from Friday afternoon - Saturday evening, to the full weekend, every other week! Well we managed that but the final solicitor's letter was blatantly ignored. Finally, we did it together on the doorstep. David saying 'Yes, yes yes' to more time. A great feeling!
As you can imagine it's very difficult but the playwork, although no substitute provides me and even some of the kids who are suffering with similar traumas, a means of love, support and affection.