This week I want to highlight the work of charity and membership organisation PACEY, the Professional Association for Childcare and Early Years.
Formed in 1977, the not-for-profit association is dedicated to supporting everyone working in childcare and Early Years to provide high quality care and early learning for children and families.
It provides training, practical help and expert advice to practitioners - registered childminders, nannies and nursery staff - working throughout England and Wales alongside peer support and encouragement through its nationwide network of PACEY local volunteers.
A key aspect of its activities is representing the views and experiences of practitioners and championing their role.
It does this through campaigning, responding to Government research and announcements and raising awareness of issues relating to both the childcare sector itself and young children.
Last summer research carried out by PACEY found children as young as three are showing signs of being unhappy with their appearance and bodies.
And just last month (June) as part of its Childminder Champions campaign, celebrating the work of childminders and raising awareness of their role among parents, PACEY teamed up with the Institute of Health Visiting to put together information about different childcare options available for health visitors to share with parents.
Through the campaign, PACEY is working in partnership with the UK's biggest parenting website Netmums, along with a range of other parenting channels, to champion childminders as a high-quality option for parents wanting to take-up their funded hours.
As a professional association, it achieves its goals by:
- Working in partnership with its members to establish and maintain the highest standards for their profession
- Supporting members to meet those standards through learning, information and advice
- Enabling members to belong to a community of professionals, sharing ideas and experiences with each other
- Representing members and ensuring their work is recognised.
- Continually improving the organisation, to achieve the highest standards of service delivery
As a member of the Professional Associations Research Network (PARN), PACEY keeps up-to-date with the latest sector research and best practice guidance and, through training and events, ensures it is equipped to deal with the challenges professional bodies face.
Anyone working in the sector should consider joining the association as membership of PACEY provides extensive benefits, designed to make members' lives easier and to help them feel more confident in their chosen career.
Members also receive the official PACEY magazine, Childcare Professional, keeping them up to date with the latest news, campaigns, ideas and innovations in childcare and Early Years.
And they have access to factsheets, practice guides and videos covering all manner of topics and subjects from child development and safeguarding to professional development and current legislation.
There's no doubt that by joining PACEY you are taking a positive step towards showing your professionalism and commitment to your career and the children in your care.