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Old 10.04.2011, 17:23
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

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While these sort of incidents do happen we have to remember that they are incredibly rare. We as parents have to keep things in perspective and realise that the vast majority of the places we leave our children are safe and take great care of our kids. Ask questions of the staff or boss of your kids nursery instead of speculating or giving into unfounded fear.
We had out child hit by the stagier, and one has to realize, that no matter of the criminal records, the building is full of staff other than regularly and properly trained adult staff. Kids as old as 15/16 are often taken in for 1-3 weeks as stagiers, to get ready for their apprentissage that will place them in the kindy for 4 years. I doubt those have to present criminal records.

As for spontaneous visits, just to point out cultural differences in some preschool institutions that I have come across. The kindy tells you 3 time windows you are allowed to show up, those are always half an hour, pick up/drop off, they really do not appreciate some socializing of parents/teachers, no time for drawn out discussions with staff, either. The teachers are there to take care of kids, not explain themselves to parents (wish it was different, but do get their point).

Schooling here, even the tiny kiddos, is not something that would be done after some major negotiations or discussions with parents. If you disagree and feel like you should have some control where your 2500fr a month is going, you may as well just pick another day care. We are mostly satisfied, been really lucky so far. But in terms of safety, legislature, legal obligations, etc. I think some institutions (teachers, stagiers) have some more work to do.
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Last edited by MusicChick; 10.04.2011 at 17:50.
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  #22  
Old 10.04.2011, 18:02
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

In Basel they advertise for teenagers to earn a bit of holiday money by looking after children in summer holiday camps. I know people who have done this without checks at all. In general when it comes to private child-care, it seems extremely easy for anyone with unlawful intentions to get access to kids - way too easy.

I'm not 100% sure so please correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm under the impression that even convicted pedophiles are not automatically put onto registers which ban them from working with children.
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Old 10.04.2011, 18:17
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

I have just been Googling to find some statistics within Switzerland and "school Switzerland paedophile" comes up with a worrying number of references to "Catholic Church".

Anyway, back on topic...

Either its not reported or it's not so common but there seems to be a lot less of these cases in schools and daycares than occurs in the UK and they HAVE the background check.

On the other side, however, there seems to be an awful lot of abuse of kids within families here; something to do with the pressures of modern life.
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Old 10.04.2011, 18:29
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

The rarity of these incidents is not a qualifying argument for me; if the first incident of abuse ever in the world were to happen to your child you'd still ask yourself the same question: why didn't I do something so simple as to ask what measures the nursery is taking in selecting employees and protecting it's kids.

Unfortunately, speaking English seems to be "enough" for many child-care places (at least ones where I've looked for work). I've also seen adverts by several expats who offer after-school lessons in their homes and their only qualification is English mother-tongue or perhaps a CELTA; this seems to be impressive to parents though actual child experience or a background check is not a big concern. As a qualified teacher and a parent I just can't understand this way of thinking.

As for nurseries / kindergarten even the most diligent of places still allow trainees to attend to children on their own if the moment calls for it. One should know that assitants are building up work experience and part of that may eventually be to mind children on their own. When I visited day care places for my children we were introduced on at least 2 occasions where an "assitant" was changing nappies on their own (as one extreme example of where abuse could easily occur unnoticed) or sitting in the dark with napping children (closed door). Furthermore, every year there may be any number of youth looking for learning positions (lehrstelle) and they come in and out of nurseries, perhaps never to be heard from again. During their "visit" they have contact to your children (play, etc) and you may never be the wiser unless your child mentions it. I clicked into what was happening after my son mentioned several new names of people who'd played with him, helped him get dressed, etc. These are the unqualified.

Then there are people who are qualified but never get background checks because they appear so trustworthy or meet the criteria the nursery or school is desperate for. A colleague of mine who had a chemistry know-how that an international school needed was accepted though she showed a completely out-of-date (by 6 years!) police check; still, she's allowed to meet with children on a one-on-one basis as it suits her.

Then there are people who get the whole official work-up done but are not regularly reassessed. The thinking seems to be that no one commits acriminal acts after being hired (heh?!).

I could go on with this topic; it makes my hair stand on end that we often fear more about children being harmed by strangers than to question the security in the places we actually enroll them into. Speaking from personal experience with a recent krippe abuse case, when my children enter school I intend to ask some to the point questions about hiring policies and other measures of safety. For what it's worth.
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Old 10.04.2011, 19:31
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

She is an assistant. But all the same, no qualifications and NO checks of any kind. She is EU. She doesn't even have a permit yet. She has been living in France.

I agree with someone who mentioned that having a criminal check doesn't necessarily mean that you won't get a person of dubious character, but surely they would agree, you would do everything in your power to find out as much as possible about that person/people looking after your kids?.
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Old 10.04.2011, 19:37
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

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She is an assistant. But all the same, no qualifications and NO checks of any kind. She is EU. She doesn't even have a permit yet. She has been living in France.
An "assistant" doesn't necessarily mean that she has contact with kids - she could be an assistant to the manager / head teacher.

Sorry, but it doesn't sound like a very reputable business if they don't even ensure that their future employee has a permit to work.

I assume they have asked for her bank details in order to pay her, though?
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Old 11.04.2011, 13:11
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

"I've also seen adverts by several expats who offer after-school lessons in their homes and their only qualification is English mother-tongue or perhaps a CELTA; this seems to be impressive to parents though actual child experience or a background check is not a big concern. As a qualified teacher and a parent I just can't understand this way of thinking."


I actually agree with pretty much everything you post - apart from this bit. I'm also a qualified teacher, with add on qualifications in elt (CELTA, DELTA etc) In terms of helping students with grammar and conversations after school a CELTA qualification is perfectly acceptable.

When I hear about some of the pedagogical methods used by some (not all) English teachers within the state system here I truly shudder. (Translation, rote learning and pages of Murphy as a way of learning English) In terms of theory and practice firmly rooted about 40 years in the past!!
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Old 11.04.2011, 13:26
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

I agree Stephanie - I get so frustrated when I see how kids are still taught languages. However I can assure you that Switzerland is way ahead of France! I support lots of local kids in both French and German from CH and F (we live on the border)- and they are all totally switched off by the 'system'. And don't talk to me about our literature is taught in France- it is enough to put off any child of reading forever.

Having been a teacher in the UK for a long time, I have mixed feelings about CRB checks etc. In a way I so love the fact that here in the mountains parents and kids are not totally obsessed and living in fear of peadophiles. Kids walk to and from school without a care in the world. We regularly help with kids activities, cross country skiing, caving, trips, etc- and we have been accepted on our 'reputation' without CRB type checks made (although we both have recent CRB checks made in UK before our move). I hate the fact that in the UK we have obese kids who are taken to school by car every day because they are not allowed to walk to school, or go to sports clubs.

Where the happy medium is and the solution is, I just do not know.
But absolutely and certainly checks should be made on every new member of staff who has access to kids.
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  #29  
Old 11.04.2011, 13:34
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

Is there any of you who has been babysit or did babysitting when you were young?

I am sometimes puzzled but the suspicion parents now a days have toward this. I used to help younger kids to do their homework after school and I was paid for it. I didn't need any degrees but I showed my schools marks as an indicator that I was able to help youngers kids.

Some as having a babysitter coming over for an evening once in a while. It seems now that someone has to provide diplomas, police statements, working permits, etc.

I am so out of my time....
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Old 11.04.2011, 13:45
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

I agree. It's strange that most ex-pats complain about the 'rigidity' of the Swiss system - and yet the UK for instance is much more rigid and PC than CH in many ways. Where the answer is, as said above, I do not know.
As a grand-mother I'd love my grand-kids to have the freedom and much more 'natural' lifestyle of the Swiss kids around me (I live in a rural area) - rather than this ferrying to school and clubs and after school activities of the UK. Here kids say to their parents, we are going to the woods- don't worry we have water, a picnic and a pen-knife, be back at 6. Bye. A bit like when I was a kid myself. And there really truly does not seem to be any trouble with pedos, etc. The sad fact is that most attacks on children happen in their own home and family or with close friends and relatives.
I worry that our kids are being smothered, robbed of all freedom, initiative and risks. Kids learn balance by walking on narrow walls - even if they sometimes fall and bruise or even break their leg or wrist. Which is the most dangerous, not having any sense of acquired balance, or being protected from bruising or breaks? I honestly do not know- although I'd instinctively err towards the former.

Here I can smile to a child, or even (horror) talk to them- and parents do not stare or whisk them away, but actually seem happy that I am taking an interst in them and what they are doing. In the UK if you do that, at a shop counter or in town - parents would practically dial 999 because a woman smiled at their kid.
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Old 11.04.2011, 13:49
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

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Is there any of you who has been babysit or did babysitting when you were young?

I am sometimes puzzled but the suspicion parents now a days have toward this. I used to help younger kids to do their homework after school and I was paid for it. I didn't need any degrees but I showed my schools marks as an indicator that I was able to help youngers kids.

Some as having a babysitter coming over for an evening once in a while. It seems now that someone has to provide diplomas, police statements, working permits, etc.

I am so out of my time....
It will just result in teenagers not doing this kind of thing anymore, which is a shame because I think school kids can gain a lot from some mentoring from older kids. I'm the same as you, Nil - looked after neighbours' kids from when I was 13. Of course kids hurt themselves occasionally while in my care (one knocked a tooth out falling into a coffee table) but the parents didn't think to blame me. It was something that just happened because they were larking about.

I wouldn't be so sure these days.

It started to loom its ugly head when I was a scout leader in the UK in the late 90s. Some poor kid fell over his own feet, tripped over another who was sitting on the floor and fractured a bone in his lower leg - freak accident.

Anyway, dad came in and almost without missing a beat asked his son "Who did it? Was it someone's fault?" then proceeded to check the floor where he had fallen to find some reason for him tripping

He wanted to sue the scout group but, fortunately commonsense prevailed, it never made it to court.
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Old 11.04.2011, 13:52
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

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Here I can smile to a child, or even (horror) talk to them- and parents do not stare or whisk them away, but actually seem happy that I am taking an interst in them and what they are doing. In the UK if you do that, at a shop counter or in town - parents would practically dial 999 because a woman smiled at their kid.
God, is it that bad now? Thanks for the heads-up, I'll watch myself next time I'm over there.
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Old 11.04.2011, 13:58
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

Well, a slight exaggeration - but not far out. At my local swimming-pool, I met a womand with her baby every week. She told be she was desperate to have a swim, but couldn't with the baby. So I offered to hold him whilst she did a few lengths. She was really taken a-back and said her husband would be very crossed, as she didn't know me. The pool attendant was an ex student of mine, and she told the mum who I was. The next week I took a copy of my CRB check with my address, tel number and the name of 2 Referees - and the next time, she said her husband knew my husband professionally, so would I mind holding the baby for her for a bit. (which I did every week for the next couple of years till we moved, lol).
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Old 11.04.2011, 14:00
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

People here often laugh (in sadness) about those in countries who have to bring their kids to school by car and pick them up while here they can walk on their own in a such of young age. But those same people are looking for a babysitter with diplomas, criminal record, loads of experiences and references from the last 5 years, etc... For a night here and there... Oh, and if someone mention how expensive a babysitter is, they get the answer that you don't want any unqualified person to look after your offspring, don't you?

I began to babysit at 12 years old. The house in front of ours. My mom was at home in case I needed help and I was taking care of a newborn and a toddler (mind you they were sleeping). I learned to be responsable early on and I feel sorry that my kids won't have this sort of experiences.
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Old 11.04.2011, 14:33
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

where I live in Muri bei Bern, most of the parents who walk their kids to school or drive them to activities are the swiss parents. Things are changing as i read in a swiss newspaper. i even know a swiss couple whose 6 year old can't go to the playground alone.
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Old 11.04.2011, 14:33
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

"I actually agree with pretty much everything you post - apart from this bit. I'm also a qualified teacher, with add on qualifications in elt (CELTA, DELTA etc) In terms of helping students with grammar and conversations after school a CELTA qualification is perfectly acceptable."


Oops, I didn't mean to imply that there's anything wrong with these language qualifications or that they are unacceptable! I don't feel that way at all and more power to you!

What I mean is that parents may be wise to consider what child-minding experience any teacher has before allowing for tutoring, teaching, after-school, etc.

Case in point without naming names: a few weeks back I read a post from an expat who had CELTA and was inviting (young) children to tutour in groups at her home. She provides no info about her experience teaching groups of children (none, as it turns out). When she was asked (in a forum) about her qualifications she replied she didn't need any as she was very popular at her son's Swiss school because she spoke English and could now also teach the grammatics thanks to her certificate. She was offended and said that not everyone has to go to Harvard to be able to teach a language. She missed the point entirely. I'd like to also mention that her response to how she'd deal with supervising kids who may need to go to the toilet was that she would take them while her husband supervised the group .

It's my feeling that no matter what qualifications one has in a subject matter, my question as a parent should still be: but have you actually had experience teaching children and do you have references attesting to a job well done?

I also have Swiss neighbours that upon discovering that I speak English, will ask if I can work with their kids to get them ahead in class. I'm flattered that I seem trustworthy enough but seriously folks, doesn't anyone care to know if I've ever mishandled children in any way or if I'm prone to have a nervous breakdown if more than two children are in my care? (I once had a music teacher who would go under the table to cry because noisy children wrecked havoc on her nerves).

Nothing is foolproof but I'd kick myself if I didn't at least try to know what I could about my children's caregivers.
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Old 11.04.2011, 14:35
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

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Well, a slight exaggeration - but not far out. At my local swimming-pool, I met a womand with her baby every week. She told be she was desperate to have a swim, but couldn't with the baby. So I offered to hold him whilst she did a few lengths. She was really taken a-back and said her husband would be very crossed, as she didn't know me. The pool attendant was an ex student of mine, and she told the mum who I was. The next week I took a copy of my CRB check with my address, tel number and the name of 2 Referees - and the next time, she said her husband knew my husband professionally, so would I mind holding the baby for her for a bit. (which I did every week for the next couple of years till we moved, lol).
Hmm... sounds like a possible business start-up
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Old 11.04.2011, 14:45
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

There is no way i would let my soon to be 7 year old walk alone to school or bike along with me in France as we do here. She would be run over and killed after 10 minutes. The driving is too dangerous, people don't stop at pedestrian crossings , drive too fast and there is no proper cycling paths.
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Old 11.04.2011, 14:48
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

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There is no way i would let my soon to be 7 year old walk alone to school or bike along with me in France as we do here. She would be run over and killed after 10 minutes. The driving is too dangerous, people don't stop at pedestrian crossings , drive too fast and there is no proper cycling paths.
Ah, then you won't be familiar with this thread, then...
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Old 11.04.2011, 14:58
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Re: Do you know who's looking after your kids?

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I also have Swiss neighbours that upon discovering that I speak English, will ask if I can work with their kids to get them ahead in class. I'm flattered that I seem trustworthy enough but seriously folks, doesn't anyone care to know if I've ever mishandled children in any way or if I'm prone to have a nervous breakdown if more than two children are in my care?
I care. Have you?

It may explain a certain attitude of mistrust.
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