Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
McGrath, B. & Garrity, S.
Child Care In Practice
'It's Not Like a Job Now; It's Part of Me: Exploring African Women's Experiences in the Irish Childcare Sector'
Optional Fields
A small-scale qualitative research study was recently carried out in the West of Ireland to explore the experiences of African childminders who had established new childcare services. The intention of the study was to explore the issues, concerns and challenges of this group of providers given their unique position as recently settled, ethnic minority women in Ireland. Twelve women were interviewed as part of this study, all of whom had arrived with considerable educational and employment experiences from their home countries in West Africa. The research illustrates a number of key processes and characteristics within this sub-sector of childminding. It reveals that, in terms of pathways to work, these women had struggled to find employment in their new communities such that childcare provided a viable route that the women pursued with enthusiasm and commitment. Most had developed their services in a largely unintentional way to begin with. Having made a conscious decision to set up their services, this group appeared to demonstrate a strong determination to succeed by seeking out formal support, through advice and training, in order to enhance their services and adhere to professional regulations. They also encountered the need to proactively develop strategies that would overcome perceived barriers and broaden their appeal. While the women placed much emphasis on providing a high-quality service and adopting a professional approach, the group claimed to offer broader support and encouragement to parents in practical and emotional ways. In discussing the relationship the participants had with the families, the childminders felt that they provided a range of supportive services to the families with whom they worked. In documenting the reported experience and perspectives of these childminders, this research seeks to add to our understanding of what we conclude is a valuable yet potentially marginalised sector of childcare provision
Grant Details
Publication Themes
Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy