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Continuing Education: Classes Nannies Can Take to Improve Their Craft

January 6, 2014

Going back to school can be quite an adventure, especially while balancing the demands of a nanny job. By choosing classes that can help improve your craft as a childcare provider, however, you can enhance your mind and your skills at the same time.

As an adult returning to the classroom, you have a distinct advantage.

“For all their responsibilities, adults tend to deeply understand the value of education as it relates to an improved quality of life, says Lynette Hazelton of the District 1199C Training & Upgrading Fund in Philadelphia, Pa. “Consequently, they are more serious students less concerned with enhancing their social life and less concerned about the opinion of peers, which allows a teacher to focus more deeply on the material at hand.”

Choosing classes that will help you personally and professionally takes careful consideration, but in the end they can provide you with the tools you need to perfect your skills and provide the best care for your children. So pack your book bag and prepare for the learning experience of a lifetime.

Refresher Courses

Many colleges offer continuing education courses that may apply directly to your career as a nanny.

Brush up on your skills with the following courses at a community college or community center:

  • CPR and First Aid: These certifications can prepare you for emergency situations and make you more employable and appealing to potential employers.
  • Water Safety: When caring for young children, it’s likely a trip to the community pool, lake or even ocean will be in store. Invest in courses on lifeguarding so you are prepared to provide the best care when wading with little ones.
  • Newborn Care: Caring for a newborn is both rewarding and challenging. If you have limited experience, a childcare class in infant care will help you learn the tricks of the trade.
  • Cooking Classes: You don’t have to be a top chef to have a successful career as a nanny, but your knowledge of cooking and nutrition will surely enhance your job and make you more appealing to potential employers. Beyond colleges and community centers, cooking and nutrition classes are typically offered at health food stores and culinary schools.
  • Fitness Training: Keeping yourself in shape, as well as the children you care for, can boost not only your health, but also the wellbeing of the family you care for on a daily basis as well. Learn how to stay active, healthy, stretched and toned so you can pass on this valuable information to the children in your care.
  • Discipline Classes: Promoting positive discipline is a challenge for both parents and nannies. Pick up a few tricks while attending parenting classes and seminars focused on discipline strategies for all ages.

Even though you may already have your degree, refresher courses offer the skill boost you may need, says Dr. Michael Provitera, Florida-based former professor and author of “Mastering Self-Motivation.”

“The advantage of going back to school as an adult is that you bring experience,” says Provitera. “At the undergraduate level, you can apply your coursework to the job and vice versa.”

Early Childhood Education

Continuing your education can also keep your skill set from aging, according to Hazelton. “We stress that learning is a lifelong pursuit and adults must make continuous investments in their own learning,” she says.

Whether you are seeking a degree or looking to learn more about changes in the childcare industry, early childhood education programs can offer nannies experience and knowledge they can put to use right away.

As you browse through college catalogs, consider the following courses, often found in early childhood education programs:

  • Introduction to Early Childhood Education
  • Language and Literacy Education
  • Child Development
  • Child Nutrition, Health and Safety
  • Child and Society
  • Principles of Early Care
  • Family and Teacher Interactions
  • Special Education
  • Educational Psychology

As you seek out courses and college programs to further your education, consider the cost, convenience and flexibility of scheduling before enrolling. Depending on your location, many hospitals, community centers and health food stores offer seminars and workshops focused on early childhood education. For the degree-seeker, consider the pros and cons between community colleges and four-year universities.

“In general terms, community colleges probably still offer the best bang for the buck and they have a long history of dealing with the non-traditional student,” says Hazelton. “However, for adults willing to investigate carefully, an increasing number of colleges are catering to this non-traditional demographic because that is where the growth is. To attract adults, they are redesigning very attractive, flexible programs.”


8 Responses to Continuing Education: Classes Nannies Can Take to Improve Their Craft

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Jennifer Thomas says:

Love this! I think, as caregivers, we can always strive to improve our craft through educational courses. However, I think that it can be tricky to talk to parents about nutrition and physical activity with their kids, especially if their family doesn’t seem interested in healthy habits. If you’re equipped to offer the advice because you’ve been through nutritional courses, how can you do so without stepping on any toes? Would love your thoughts!

There is not one single most beneficial class. When considering what course to take, it is important to keep your larger professional and career goals in mind. For example, if you want to work with newborns, a newborn care specialist, postpartum Dula, lactation consultant or sleep training work would all be great. Employers always love to see ECE units, foreign language skills, specialized training in nutrition, safety (such as a a lifeguard cert.) Again, it is important to consider your larger goal as a nanny and choose coursework which fits into the larger framework of your career. Please let us know if you have further questions!

Amy Hutchins says:

What do you think is the single most beneficial course to take as a nanny who wants to continue their education, aside from CPR and first aid?

admin says:

We asked @itsmomtastic that same question! She responded that infant/childhood nutrition would be especially important, and with the staggering childhood obesity rates, we definitely think that’s an area to focus on!

There is a lot of GREAT trainings offered online! Let us know if you need help finding resources!

Sandra Ortiz says:

Since nannies work such long hours as it is, how would you recommend finding balance between your job and any continuing education coursework you decided to take on? It seems like it’d be kind of hard to juggle both, especially since they both require such a large chunk of attention…

Rebecca Mills says:

I’ve been working with families who have special needs children for years and think that it’s so important to pursue continuing education for special needs children. It’s the best way to stay on top of your niche and to provide the best care for the families you work for!

Melinda Hays says:

Discipline is such a tricky subject. I’d be interested to hear about different types of discipline classes that are offered!