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Childminding, an essential profession for the EU seeking for recognition

What is childminding? What knowledge, skills, responsability and autonomy this often unrecognised profession requires? What training, certification or validation is required or available?

The Erasmus+ project ValChild (October 2018 - March 2021) has been trying to answer those questions in order to fulfil the gap between the demand of qualified childminders and their availability, to address the need expressed by the communities for higher quality in ECEC (Early childhood education and care) and to foster a formal and transparent economy.

A key milestone for ValChild took place a few weeks ago during the workshops organised in Ireland, France and Portugal to validate the tools developped by the project, mainly a competence profile with a 3 EQF level and a validation portfolio.

One of the main challenges of the project has been to propose a common competence profile for childminders, as a basis for efficient and user-friendly validation tools and processes. Indeed, there are huge differences among the participating countries in the project (Ireland, France, Greece, Portugal and The Netherlands): some countries have already well consolidated qualifications in their national qualification frameworks (NQFs) and some others don't, some countries have sound validation procedures and some others don't or not available for childminders, etc.

Despite those differences, the partners developped a common competence profile, as well as a common validation tools and procedures. They were presented and discussed with more than 100 chilminders, validation experts and stakeholders. The general perception was very positive and the participants considered that the competence profile covers the knowledge and skills required for a childminder, even if some adjustments could be required to adress each national context. As regards the validation tools and processes, the participants from the countries were these are not available were enthousiastic and willing to have access to them.

Lastly, the perspective of a common European certification was adressed. Even if nowadays this option is not available, since each EU member state decides on its own national qualification framework, the participants stated that it would be very useful to have a common certification, enabling to work as a childminder in different countries. They also highlighted the importance of recognition for this profession, since it is not socially perceived as a "real profession", but just as a private activity carried out mostly by women and often informally (without a labour contract). In this sense, to have not only a national, but also an European recognition, could help to reinforce the visibility and social perception of childminders.

For more information about ValChild project, please visite the website: https://www.valchild.eu/.

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