The rules of creating and supervising the Daily Carer are set out in the Act of 4 February 2011 on care for children aged 3 and under (Dz. U. No. 45, item 235, as amended).
The Daily Carer is a form where one qualified person works with five children. The Act provides for the possibility of increasing the group to eight children provided that the parents are on duty as volunteers. The group must be smaller if at least one child is under one year old or has a disability.
The Daily Carer can be set up in a home or in premises provided by, for example, the municipality or a company. The manner in which the children are fed is determined jointly by the parents and the carer. The operation of the facility is supervised by the municipality.
In order to become a Daily Carer worker, all that is required is a high school education and 160 hours of training, including thirty hours of practical training. Such training is provided by, among others, the Comenius Institute (more here>>>).
Parents are important
In the Child Development Foundation model, parents co-run the Day Care Centre. The children are always looked after by two people – a carer and one of the parents or a person nominated by them (usually members of the child’s family). This guarantees not only safety, but also higher quality, mutual control and exchange of experience.
For the municipality:
No special infrastructure is needed to create a Day Care Centre, a premises is enough, preferably with direct access to the outdoors. You don’t need a lot of space, even forty or so meters with a bathroom and a small kitchen are enough for five children. In accordance with the provisions of the Act, the Day Care Centre does not have to meet the requirements necessary for nurseries and children’s clubs.
Parents establish strong ties with the caregivers/caregivers and with each other, creating a micro-community. This is extremely valuable for municipalities, especially in villages and small towns where depopulation is a growing problem. In cities, on the other hand, young parents are often very isolated and such places give them a sense of community life.
Firstly, the Daily Carer offers mothers the opportunity to return to work. Part-time at first, because a small child has to get used to a new place and spends a few hours there, but it is a good start. Secondly, the point, by becoming a meeting place, gives young parents a reference group, which is important, especially in view of the decreasing number of children in the family. It increases parents’ sense of security, confidence, competence and skills. In addition, because the children are in a small group, they fall ill less often than in nurseries.
Contrary to what you may hear, young children are social creatures. They are interested in each other, they play together, they build bonds. A one and a half year old child starts to be open to other children, looks at them, repeats after them, tries to make contact. This speeds up their development, they start to speak earlier, eat independently, learn to play together, communicate, try to solve conflicts, support each other and remember each other.
In order to benefit from being in a group, the child must feel safe and this is facilitated by three factors: adaptation, i.e. the time when they come with someone close to them and get used to the new place, the small group and the fact that they do not immediately stay for 8 hours.
Another issue is that the groups are different ages – the younger ones catch up by being with the older ones, and the older ones learn to be attentive to the younger ones. A bit like siblings. The work is easier when the group is diverse. When there are five children and two are already eating independently, only three need to be helped.
Irene has made a huge developmental leap this year, especially in learning to speak. Because our group is small, you can see the needs of the children and there is time to respond to them. This can be done not only by the carer but also by the parent volunteer. Irene likes everyone at her point.
The adaptation took 24 days. During this time Irene and I went to the centre together and spent 2 to 5 hours a day there. It was a difficult time but we both felt at home there. I didn’t believe the counsellor when she said that we were waiting for the moment when Irena would let me go by myself. But that’s what happens – Irena tells me “papa mummy, go”.
The parents are much more involved at the Centre than at the nursery. You have to provide volunteers, cook, clean the Point and provide some of the equipment. This is a cost. But in return we get a stronger relationship with other parents. A flock is formed that raises the young together. The children have a close relationship with the other parents, they enjoy dishes that other mums specialise in, they learn about other models of parenting, cooking, other games. And all this still in a safe little circle.