Aimee Keays began her career as an educator in long day care, but since starting her own family day care business in 2015, she hasn’t looked back. Aimee relishes the laidback environment of her home setting in Langwarrin as it means calmer children and more opportunity for one-on-one interaction – a marked contrast to the busy and rushed nature of long day care.
A year ago, Aimee joined hands with Windermere to run her family day care service. “It was a very smooth transition and having the families enrolled through Windermere is an easy process. Windermere handles all the administrative tasks, immunisations and helps with risk assessments related to allergies and health conditions,” she says of a collaborative partnership.
Aimee's Little K's Family Day Care takes in children aged as young as three months all the way up to kinder age with a limit of four children in the care environment.
The care environment also allows siblings to be together as opposed to being placed in separate groups and accommodates any ongoing needs of a child such as visits from an occupational therapist.
This flexibility extends to busy parents as well. “If parents are having a rushed morning and the children are not ready, they can still drop them off in their pyjamas and let them get ready here.” Children also get to enjoy spontaneous activities as well as experiences that support and foster cultural inclusivity. Sharing recipes, indulging in a cooking experiment, or simply learning a key word from another language enriches the learning experience for all the children.
While flexibility certainly adds colour to the day, there are planned and structured activities to keep the youngsters occupied throughout the day. A typical day covers both indoor and outdoor experiences including arts and crafts, and group and individual activities. A nap time is also included for children who require sleep in keeping with routines followed at home. That’s not all, once a week the children are taken on an outing to Playball Australia to join other family day care educators and children for a planned activity and a picnic if the weather permits. Family day care allows flexibility for educators and children to enjoy a range of such outings.
Aimee shares in the joy and appreciation as well. “I love that I get to form lasting bonds with the families. Sometimes they visit me after many years or I run into them in the supermarket and they still remember me,” she adds.
To other educators looking to start out their own family day care business, Aimee has a few pointers. “Local Facebook groups and local libraries, parks and kinders are places you can spread the word. It helps if you wear your uniform as parents approach you when they see it. Once you have families enrolled, ask them to spread the word too,” she says of self-marketing and she doesn’t hesitate to recommend her line of work to others. “If you like a calmer environment, choosing your own hours and being your own boss – I’d say go for it.”
To enquire about becoming a family day care educator with Windermere, visit here.