Fadette Vital is a mum of two who lives at Perseverance 1, she is one of two registered child-minders in that district. With 15 years of experience under her belt including working in various institutions that work with children, it was only natural for her to start a business in that field. However, she didn’t start off with having her own establishment in mind.
She explained that after she had her first child and had to go back to work, she was not satisfied with the sanitary conditions at the child-minder, but at that time she did not have much choice. When her second child arrived she did not want him to go through the same discomfort and decided to mind him herself. Someone heard she was at home taking care of her child and asked her to mind theirs and then another one came, before she knew it she was minding a few children on her own. Five years and dozens of children later she decided to register as a child-minder.
She believes that her calm parenting style draw children to her and they get used to her quickly, she thinks that children should be spoken to and made to understand things as they are; she is strict when she has to be but she believes you “attract more bees with honey”. This devoted lady currently has 10 children under her responsibility aged 19 months to about 2 and half years old; she usually minds them right until they go to crèche. She has an assistant who works with her according to IECD standards who is there from 7.30am to around 3 to 4pm.
During the day, the children have several educational activities including books to keep them busy. Fadette has a timetable of all activities, some days the kids learn about colours and shapes, another day is for singing and of course the faithful lego which stimulates their imagine as they build their rockets, houses and cars; there are lots of other toys at their disposal. Fadette takes them out for outdoor pursuits as well. On the day of the interview they had just returned from an outside trip, tired from playing and were resting. She is very proud of her children especially when they learn things that they then share with their satisfied parents and this warms her heart.
Fadette’s children are well taken care of and certainly do not go hungry. She offers them lunch and if a parent didn’t have time to give their child breakfast, she gives them some as well. They get their tea at 3pm with snacks in between. She also provides diapers if parents forget to bring some or if their supply finishes before the parent brings in a new stock.
All businesses have their ups and downs, its part of the journey, Fadette says that her biggest challenge is parents who are constantly late picking up their children, sometimes they come well after 5pm and this impacts on her personal life. A few parents also keep bringing their children when they are sick, even if she reminds them that this could infect the others. However, finally parents are beginning to show signs of understanding the rules and this gives Fadette hope.
This childminder is lucky as she did not have to do too many adjustments to her home to be able to mind children there. Her flat is on the first floor so she says she only had to put chicken wire over the railings at the verandah so children could not get stuck through or throw things through the holes in between the railings and down below.
Fadette has no regrets about the career she has chosen and she says that to be a successful child-minder a person needs to know how to speak to children, how to take care of them and give them the affection and attention they need. Since you are the parent’s replacement you also need to build the little ones with the skills they need especially social skills, educate them and also support the parents so they can continue what you start during the day. Fadette has frequent meetings with her parents mostly to discuss their children’s progress and other areas pertinent to their children’s wellbeing.
Despite the challenges associated with the job, Fadette believes she will keep minding children for a long time, in fact until she is asked to stop. Provided she gets the necessary funding she would not mind opening a day care centre one day. She says all the training she gets from IECD really helps her, she gets feedback as well and that helps her improve every day.
Fadette Vital has this to say to other minders who are deciding whether they want to register “ try it, nothing is impossible, society needs us as child-minders, let’s help those little children and help the parents as well so they can earn a living and take good care of their kids.”