by Alice Shaffer
The Development Team at Regarding Nannies recognizes the importance of education and wanted to assist a nanny in going to the International Nanny Association’s 25th nanny conference this past May in San Francisco. We sponsored an essay contest and Heather McKinley was the recipient of the Conference Scholarship. I caught up with her on her experience at the conference and how life is after the conference.
To read Heather’s essay you can visit INA Scholarship Essay Winner … Heather McKinley
A little background on Heather: Heather became a professional nanny in the summer of 2007. She nannies in the Cincinnati, Ohio area for two boys who are 1 and 3.5 years old. She has been involved with CincyNanny since moving to the area in late 2009. She learned about Regarding Nannies and the INA through Greta and CincyNanny.
How did you get involved with CincyNanny?
Greta sent me a message through Care.com that she was having a meeting. I had been looking for a group like this in all four of the jobs that I’ve had and when she mentioned the meeting, I decided I would try it out. I love being involved and having other nannies to connect with.
How did you feel when you found out you were selected as the Conference Scholarship winner?
I was at a scrapbooking event when I got the phone call and I was in shock; 1. because I knew it wasn’t the day that was posted that the winner would be notified and 2. because I figured there would be so many people that entered that there was no way my essay would be good enough. I went back into the room all giddy and it took quite a while to get calmed down. I called my boss as soon as I hung up. They were very excited for me as well.
Did you have any expectations of the INA conference before going?
I knew that if I went to all the workshops that I would definitely benefit. I was told that I would make friends for life by going to the conference and meeting others.
What were some of the workshops that you learned from & how did you bring that to work?
INA Nanny Credential Exam Review and Exam:
From talking with Greta on some occasions I thought of taking the INA credential exam. When I was selected to go to the conference, I decided that I would sign up for the review class on Thursday. I was somewhat surprised that more nannies did not take advantage of the Thursday workshops. I felt that I wanted to take full advantage of all of the workshops offered to me as they were in one central location. I am happy to report that I passed the INA Nanny Credential Exam!
Action Awareness: by Lila Reyna
This was a great workshop. I learned simple techniques for self defense. Ms. Reyna was very prepared and thorough with her teachings. She taught us that just by stepping/stomping on someone’s foot can be enough distraction to get away from them if necessary.
Working with Families in Stress by Brooke Miller
My oldest who is 3.5 was having a hard time with his mom leaving in the morning. The transition was rough on all of us. From this workshop I learned more about how kids work much better with a routine in place. Once back at work, I started working on our daily routines. My charge really adjusted to having a routine for his day. This also helped with the transition from mom to me for the day. If he starts missing his mom now, he will blow kisses to her picture. If he needs a chat with mom or dad we will call them in the afternoon. I have definitely seen a change in my charge by doing this.
Get Ready to Read! Teaching Through Play by Lynne Ruppel, MA.
This was another great workshop. Ms. Ruppel talked a lot about taking the time to really “read” the story with your kids. Reading is just not about the words on the page, it is how the child sees things on the pages as well. By talking with my charge, we can discuss more things “outside” the storyline. We can discuss more things on the pages outside of the words. Like how the truck is similar to other things on the page. What letter the word truck begins with. This helps in getting kids ready to read. I also ask my charge to “tell me” the story as well from his point of view. To keep fresh on the books we read, we go to the library weekly as part of our routine.
How have you shared what you learned at INA with those locally and in CincyNanny?
We, as a group, talk about INA frequently and have already begun discussing conference next year. Each time we have a new nanny come to a playdate or other activity we are doing we discuss the conference. This is to let the other nannies know there are conferences out there but also to share with them our excitement from what we learned.
How was your networking at the conference and after?
I made several new friends at the conference. It has been great to connect with many of them after the conference via Facebook and in person. Recently one of the nannies I met was looking for a new job, and I knew a few jobs on our job board at CincyNanny so I passed them along. I never thought I would have been sharing local jobs with someone who lived out of state.
I also have been able to see Sue Downey as she has relatives in the area. That has been a lot of fun.
It has been a positive experience overall meeting all of the nannies. By being in the workshops with the other nannies I was able to learn more tips and strategies outside of the speakers examples. This was especially true during the Positive Discipline for Younger Children workshop.
How do you see yourself in your nanny career in 3 years to 5 years?
I have a standing with my family right now that I will be with them until their youngest is at least in kindergarten so that is five years, but they have also told me that they are most likely not done having children so I see myself being with my current charges for at least seven years. I am also excited that my future children will have instant companions because I will be bringing them with me to work.
What value do you place on being involved locally and nationally with nanny groups?
It is definitely a high value because I have made friends that can relate to my situations and I can go to any one of them and ask their opinion and not have them say that’s great, but when are you going to get a real job. I am a professional nanny and it is a real job and the nanny world understands that. Now to convince the rest of the world.
Heather is planning on joining us again at the 2011 INA Conference We hope you plan on joining us.
Congratulations again Heather for being the recipient of the essay scholarship. Congratulations as well for passing the INA Credential Exam!