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Position 11: IN HOME PROVIDER NANNY/ GOVERNESS / AU PAIR (Preparation Level 1) Caring for a child or children in the family's home

Definition: A person who is employed by an individual family to care for their children in the family's home.

Knowledge, Skills and Dispositions: The in-home provider has knowledge of child development, health, safety and nutrition. The provider uses good speaking and listening skills to communicate with children and their families. The provider plans routines and activities that contribute to each child's physical, intellectual, emotional, and social well-being. Critical thinking, problem solving and behavior management are important skills for the in-home provider. This position requires a talent for working with young children, cooperation with the family's schedules and requirements, and flexibility.

Employment Settings: The setting is the family home or other locations due to family travel. This position is organized according to the needs of the family and may involve a daytime work schedule or it may require a live-in arrangement.  Wages may include payment for light housekeeping or other duties related to the children's care. 

Required Qualifications: The employer determines qualifications for the in-home provider and may require relevant education and experience as well as references.

Preparation: A nanny is typically hired to care for infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children. The American Council of Nanny Schools accreditation has training requirements that include extensive coursework as well as a practicum. Go to Nanny Association for more information. A certified nanny will provide warm, consistent care, carrying out the family's plan for the child's activities.

An au pair (pronounced "oh pear") is a young adult, non-American, recruited to provide child care in exchange for a one-year cultural experience in the United States. The meaning of the French term is "on even terms" or "equal" indicates that this position is more of an equal family member, assisting with family duties of caring for the children. The host family also provides for post-secondary education of the au pair. There are several agencies authorized to bring au pair students to the United States, which are regulated by the U. S. Information Agency. Au pairs usually do not have any specific training although some may have received training/education prior to entering the program.

Governess is a term often used for a provider caring or supervising older children who may also provide educational experiences such as home schooling.  This position typically requires a higher level of education than that of a nanny and frequently includes a live-in arrangement, often accompanied by extensive travel with the family. Wages and benefits are negotiated between the Governess and the family.

Opportunity for Advancement: Usually, in-home providers are independent workers with no opportunities for advancement. In a change of settings, the experience gained may be useful along with further education to advance in the field of early care and education.

Related Careers:

Serving Children Directly โ€“ Provider (Family Child Care), Head of Group, Assistant Teacher (Center Based Child Care).

Serving Families Directly โ€“ Referral and placement specialist for other in home providers, temporary employment service referral agent

Providing Information Goods and Services โ€“ Publisher of instructional materials for in home providers.

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