Become a Student Play Carer
“@Home Childcare is the best part-time job I have ever had as a student! It doesn’t feel like work. It’s fun!”
We hear this a lot from our student play carers! Working as a play carer is probably the ideal job, if you enjoy being children, because:
- It fits in with your timetable commitments without taking up too much time
- You get invaluable experience of working responsibly with children, which can an asset if you are considering a career in child-related profession
- We ensure you obtain essential training skills and knowledge needed to provide safe and stimulating care for children in their own homes
- You get paid a competitive wage, depending on your age, and receive full employee benefits such as such holiday pay, continuous training and mentor to provide support.
Play care is a memorable student job. It's definitely special!
Play care is essentially a mixture of play work, traditionally associated with out of school clubs, and conventional childcare such as childminding. The difference is that is in the in the family’s own home.
The role involves picking up children from school and walking home them home. Once home, you will need to:
- Talk to children about their school day and their other interests
- Plan fun activities based on the children’s individual interests, e.g. board games, imaginary play etc
- Helping with children’s homework such as spelling or their reading books
- Prepare healthy snacks or a light meal for the children.
- Encourage positive behaviour amongst siblings in their own environment
- Sharing information with parents about their children e.g. any incidents which may have happened at school or whilst in your care
- Being proactive about supervising children and ensuring risks are minimised to keep them safe.
We expect all unqualified play carers who join us to undergo our training in the following:
- Paediatric first aid
- Safeguarding and the protection of children
- Promoting children’s health, safety & children’s well-being
- Food safety.
Most of these courses are short online training, apart from Safeguarding Children which, as a top priority requirement, needs to be face2face or live online, depending what is available in your area. Training will provide you with essential skills and knowledge to help ‘cement’ your experience in childcare. It also helps to you to fulfil Ofsted’s criteria.
All of our training is free. It is invaluable if you are new to working in the childcare sector or, if you left the sector some time ago and need a refresher. Students will also find it useful, especially if you are considering child related career in teaching, social work, play therapy or child psychology.
It depends on demand in your local area and matching your needs and expectations, especially your hours and days with suitable families. It helps if you are willing to travel a reasonable distance but we try to keep you within your local area as possible.
You need to be able to work around 3 consecutive after school sessions from around 3/3.15pm until 5.30 – 7pm school term time, depending on the needs of the family.
It works out around 8 – 12 hours per week. The more flexible you are, the more likely we will find a family match to suit you. If you can work the odd morning from 7/7.30am that can help.
Sometimes the family might ask for full day of play care during the school holidays. You do not have to commit to extra hours, if it does not fit in with your availability.
We have minimum hour policy so, even if parents use you for less hours, you will still get paid for the agreed minimum hours.
We are interested in students who have proven experience of working with children such as voluntary work in schools, holiday camps/clubs work, scouts/brownies leaders, student school ambassadors, sports coaching, paid babysitting/au-pair and education support.
Informal experience such as caring for younger siblings and family babysitting is insufficient experience. Ultimately, we are looking for people who have an interest in children and can engage with them for a sustained length of time. Proven experience is important because we need to verify your experience with references. Qualifications, although desirable, are not essential because we have our own in-house training for candidates.
We expect student play carers to commit to at least 1 year and ideally, you should be willing to work the full school term, wherever possible. Most families use our play care for a number of years, therefore they expect someone genuinely interested in developing a long-term relationship with their children. Obviously, this depends on whether it is a good match in the first place. The three-week trial is essential to assess if the match is suitable for both parties involved.
We ask all students to be clear about what they can commit to during the interview to help us forewarn families when their childcare might end.
The hourly rate is up to £9 per hour, depending on your age and experience. We pay more than national minimum wage and it is on a sliding scale, depending on the number of children you care for and the number of hours the family uses you for. As your employer, @Home Childcare is responsible for your employee benefits. Pay is on a weekly basis, in arrears, and you also receive other entitlements such as holiday pay.
We are used to working with students so we understand how your study and other commitments can impact on your availability. This is discussed at your interview and we ensure parents are aware of what you can commit before a family match is confirmed.
Have a question for us?
If you have a question about anything, big or small, no matter what it is, we’d love to hear from you! Just press the button below, fill out the form and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as we can.