A Career Path for an Adult Still Searching
I wanted to be a nanny back in a time and place when few Americans understood what it really meant and even less valued the occupation. I only found out about it because I’m a History Buff. Then, I watched a news program which showed the Duke and Duchess of York going somewhere and they had their uniformed nanny, Alison Wardley, with them.
I was like, “Yes! That’s it! That’s what I want to be!”
Sadly, I had no idea how to be that. I had no idea my future alma mater, The English Nanny & Governess School, already existed, having opened its doors in 1984. It was a precarious time in the American nanny profession. Most people didn’t have a clue. I certainly didn’t. A lot of potential nannies and employers were taken advantage of by schools and agencies promising professionals, but taking their money and getting out of town.
Meanwhile, the British continued on as they always had, turning out the best nannies in the world to the delight of their employers.
Alison Wardley graduated from The Princess Christian Nursery Training College in Manchester. It has since closed its doors to nanny training, according to this Nursery World article.
Princess Helena as a child with brother, Prince Alfred, she became ‘Princess Christian’ upon marriage. She was the fifth child of Queen Victoria.
Career Paths for Real Nannies of the Sacred Code
This is the second post in a series. Each one will consider at what point a potential nanny might enter the profession and the preparation I recommend. Disclaimer: This is only my opinion! Each of you is a unique individual with a variety of backgrounds and experiences.
Also, everything about a nanny applies to a manny. Daily Mail’s Article on Norland’s Male Students
How to Become a Real Nanny of the Sacred Code
- Straight Outta High School & the Early Childhood Education Path
- Adult with Some Life Experience & Specialized School
- Adult with Education/Experience in a Different Field & Various Online Classes
- Kicking It Up Yet Another Notch: Newborn Care Specialists, Special Needs Nannies, Montessori Nannies, Governesses, and Household Manager Nannies
What is the Sacred Code?
I created this fictional designation based on the real life practice of friends recommending nannies who’d worked for them and nannies letting their friends know when new jobs were opening up. A hundred years ago in England it was common for noble families to pass around nannies as needed. For example, the nanny who raised Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon also nannied that lady’s daughters, the future Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret.
The Code itself is based on three universal human virtues all nannies ought to possess in abundance.
Loyalty, Sincerity, and Compassion
An Adult Attending a Special Nanny School
So you’ve been out of high school a few years. Maybe you’ve taken some college classes. Perhaps you’ve been told the only way to be a powerful, truly independent woman is to become a doctor or lawyer or investment banker. But, that all seems horribly boring to you. And you keep finding yourself falling into childcare-related jobs, like helping a mother with a new baby, providing childcare for school-age children in exchange for room and board while you attend classes during the day, working at kids’ summer camps. Most of your friends might consider such jobs only a means to an end or until something better comes along, but you thoroughly enjoy it.
Okay, let’s get this one thing straight.
Children are Worthy of Excellent Care by Intelligent, Well-Educated People and being a Childcare Provider is an Awesomely Powerful Thing To Be.
“I touch the future. I teach.” -Christa McAuliffe, first teacher in space
A nanny is one of a child’s first teachers, besides her own parents. Such an honor and a privilege!
“Education begins at birth.” -Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori Method.
Here is my post on Nannies in Historical Context
Don’t let anyone define what a meaningful career is for you.
You define you.
Experience & Necessary Skills
You’ve probably already gained a lot of experience and necessary skills. While you’re waiting around to ship off to school, you keep doing that. You’re going to need excellent references to get in, after all. Don’t forget to ask for Letters of Recommendation!
Volunteer at your local hospital or help out in Sunday School, and at non-profit organizations like the Salvation Army. Work in a preschool, daycare, or in hotel housekeeping. Shadow a professional chef, party planner, or nanny at work, help a friend or family member who has babies and/or toddlers. Get in touch with your local nanny support group, if there is one, and ask for suggestions. International Nanny Association provides a list of support groups from around the world, as well as tons of other resources, like the Nanny Mentor. Definitely check them out.
Take extra classes, if you have time. You can find instruction at special schools and other community education organizations, Joann Fabric & Crafts, and non-profits.
- CPR and First Aid
- Karate and Self-Defense
- Defensive Driving
- Cake Decorating, Sewing and Crafts
- Cooking and Nutrition
Besides the skills, this demonstrates to a future employer that you have initiative and dedication. It’s okay if you show up to nanny school already knowing how to do something. I was an accomplished seamstress by the time I went and was asked to teach the basic sewing class, as a result.
Choosing a School
Sadly, your choices are extremely limited nowadays. Nanny schools in the United States seem to have been going belly-up until now they’re almost gone. I chalk it up to a lack of solid history with the profession.
Disclaimer: Whatever you do, always check current reviews and the Better Business Bureau
Yes, you can go to school in England, like to the aforementioned Norland or, perhaps, Chiltern College. I certainly would have, if it had been possible at the time! If you can afford it, great. It might work especially well if you have friends and family there.
Also, there are other schools throughout the world. Japan has Poppins. If you live in Hawaii, they operate a daycare there. That might be an excellent place to learn and gain experience!
I graduated The English Nanny & Governess School
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at The English Nanny & Governess School and wish like crazy I’d learned of their existence years before! I grew up in a small town out in the boonies and didn’t have the advantage of the World Wide Web. You do! Learn all you can. Here is a YouTube video- ENGS Promo
I attended back in the 1990s and I treasure those memories. They’ve added several things to the curriculum since then, like the Newborn Care training. We had infant care classes and practicum, of course, but this looks a lot more specialized. Awesome.
Certified Professional Nannies & Governesses are highly valued, as you can see from this page on a prestigious nanny agency website- Elizabeth Rose’s Page for Highly Educated Career Nannies
Of course, the school will want to find a job for you through their own placement department. However, your priority needs to be on finding the right job for you. Because you’re the one who has to actually live with it.
Remember, a Real Nanny of the Sacred Code is a committed professional. Don’t take a job unless you’re sure you can stick with it long-term. That can be very challenging for a multitude of reasons! Take your time, interview a lot. One thing you’ll learn at school is how to choose the right job for you. This is priceless!
So did I always notice the Nanny when everyone else was clamoring after the Princess? Yes. Yes, I did. Because nannies get to be with the babies and I always liked babies a lot more than castles and tiaras.
But I wouldn’t have known about the nannies if not for the princesses. 😉
So, there you have it, the career path of an experienced adult who’s sure he or she wants to be a nanny for years to come.
Next Week: Adults Educated & Experienced in Other Fields & Online Classes to Become Nannies Instead
Last Week: Nanny Career Path Straight Outta High School
Post for Employers of Nannies: First 3 Steps to Hire a Real Nanny