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Position 3: Assistant to Head of Group (Preparation Level 1)

Description: This person assists the Head of Group in child care and education programs including Head Start. This person is often called the Assistant Teacher.

Knowledge, Skills and Dispositions: The Assistant to Head of Group needs knowledge of child development, especially of the young child, and communication (speaking, reading, writing and listening) and behavior management skills. The Assistant to Head of Group is a cooperative co-worker with the ability to: follow directions, work independently, interact positively with children and families, and maintain self-control.

Employment Settings: Child care and education programs including group family child care (see Section II, Setting A.1 and A.2) and Head Start (see Section II, Setting B).

Required Qualifications: For an individual working in child care programs licensed or registered by NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) High School Diploma OR its equivalent OR substantial experience working with children under 13 years of age. NYS OCFS 418 – 1.13 (g) All persons holding this position must be cleared through the NYS Central Registry of Child Abuse and fingerprints submitted to required authorities. (These are guidelines according to state child care regulations and do not apply to all the settings listed.)

Preparation: Work experience as an aide in an early childhood program; study in early childhood education/child development in high school (e.g. Career Tech program, College to Work Alliance); college-level early childhood or general education studies; community classes in early childhood education; or a Child Development Associate Credential (CDA).  These are guidelines according to state child care regulations and do not apply to all the settings listed. See Section V, Preparing to Learn B - Higher Education for a description of Child Development Credential.

Continuing Education: For those individuals working in child care programs licensed by NYS or registered by OCFS requirements are: 

  • 15 hours of approved training during the first six months of employment
  • 30 hours of approved training within the first two years registration/licensure 
  • 30 hours of approved training every two years thereafter. 

Training must address the following topics:

  1. Principles of child development, including the appropriate supervision of children, meeting the needs of children enrolled in the program with physical or emotional challenges, behavior management, and discipline
  2. Nutrition and health needs of children
  3. Child day care program development
  4. Safety and security procedures, including communication between parents and staff
  5. Business record maintenance and management
  6. Child abuse and maltreatment identification and prevention
  7. Statutes and regulations pertaining to child day care
  8. Statutes and regulations pertaining to child abuse and maltreatment
  9. Education and information on the identification, diagnosis and prevention of shaken baby syndrome

Alternate Pathways: Volunteer experience in an early childhood setting  or employment as a Program Aide (Position 2) working as a Program Aide could serve as pathways into this position.

Opportunity For Advancement: With more experience and continuing education toward the award of the a CDA, or an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree, the Assistant to Head of Group may advance into the Head of Group position, Teaching Assistant in the public school, or Teacher with New York State Certification.

Related Careers:

Serving Children Directly – Nanny/governess, one-on-one special services aide, camp counselor

Serving Families Directly – Family worker, home visitor, home health aide

Providing Information Goods and Services – Children's library assistant, vendor of educational merchandise

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