Surrounded by houses on either side, Cindy Labiche lives and runs her Childminding business from her home right off the Grand Anse main road. On the day of the visit, it was remarkably quiet and if one did not know she minded children, one would not be able to tell. In fact all the children were napping during our visit.
To ensure the safety and comfort of the children in her care, Cindy had to make some updates to her house which included the extension of her kitchen and verandah. The play area is now quite large by comparison to other minders visited and she could easily cater for the full quota of ten children, according to the national standards. However, Cindy is only minding 5 little clients; she says she has not been lucky with assistants, so she prefers to work by herself from now on. Renovation to make the children’s space even more comfortable was ongoing and this child-minder says that by the time she is finished the children will have their own sleeping quarters and a separate area for their belongings.
Cindy’s adventure of working with children started about 7 years ago, she says she wasn’t working at the time because she had to take care of her frequently ill child. When the child got better she decided to give Childminding a try because she had gotten used to taking care of children. So when IECD called for Childminders to register, she decided to do just that.
She makes sure to keep the children busy throughout the day, they play lots of games, watch cartoons sometimes and she also takes them for little walks around the village where she lives to develop their social skills, “they love it! They see animals and touch plants and talk to people”.
Cindy loves her job, the only drawback is that she works alone and since the baby needs a lot more attention, she doesn’t have enough time to spend with the bigger children or do more activities with them. She also understands that it is not always easy for parents to leave their work but parents understand when there is an emergency and Cindy needs to be away she tells them well in advance so that they can plan accordingly.
“Manmi-Cindy” says she knows she is doing a good job when the children are happy to come to her home every day, some of them cry at home at the weekend and want to see her. Others don’t want to go to school and want to stay with her. With her personal experience with her own child she had learnt to read their cues even if sometimes they could not actually talk to communicate.
She says when you love children it is easy to take care of them despite their whims. Cindy encourages others to undertake the training as it will help them a lot in their work “you learn how to do your budget better, how to clean better and once you go for one of the trainings offered you will always want to come to the others”. “Don’t be afraid, to register, she says It’s not hard to care for children if you have love for what you are doing, just give it a try.”