Interview with: Jo Baranek, Lead Early Years Advisor, National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)
21st July 2016
NDNA’s passion and ambition for all children is why Childcare Expo enjoy working closely with them leading up to each event and having them present on the day to share their experience and knowledge to our visitors.
For those who have previously attended one of Jo’s seminars or workshops, will understand and know of the passion we speak of for the early years sector that Jo exudes on stage. Her workshop at Childcare Expo Manchester had the crowd on their hands and knees getting involved with creating sensory toys from recycled materials – providing us with the ‘hands-on’ aspect of the workshops we hope to achieve.
NDNA drives to ensure that childcare settings run to a high quality, sustainable business, so that children will benefit from the best care and learning, helping them to reach their potential. Making a difference is exactly what attracted Jo to the industry. Hear what she has to say when we caught up with her after the show:
What drew you to the early years sector?
I wanted to make a difference to children’s lives where it matters the most.
What makes you passionate about your job?
Being able to help nurseries to make that difference and be part of this.
What skills would you say are absolutely necessary for a childcare professional?
Enthusiasm, sense of fun, connected with your inner child, energy, passion.
In your opinion, what should children learn and discover from their time in early years care?
They should be learning about their own identity and who they are. They should be building their self-esteem, confidence and starting to build the skills and knowledge they need for the rest of their life all through play.
How do you think technology will influence the sector over the next 5 years?
Children are becoming more and more adept at IT so we need to ensure that early years keeps up with this. We also need to make sure that children are protected from the dangers online by helping them to be savvy.
How do you think settings can be made more appealing to men in the childcare sector?
I think early years settings need to make themselves less feminine and more open to males – this includes dads too as they sometimes feel isolated when they do drop offs. I also think it is important to have more prominent males in early years to talk openly about why men should be in early years.
If you could make one change in the early years sector, what would it be?
Wages for practitioners and the recognition of all we do.
What is the best professional advice you have been given during your career?
Act in a way you wish to be treated.
What is your biggest fear?
Leaving the world in a bad way for the future children.
Which 3 people, famous or otherwise, would you invite to a dinner party?
Ruby Wax – she has great insight into mindfulness and is also very funny with it.
My stepdaughter as she is always the soul of any party and generates lots of random conversations.
Stephen Fry – for lots of interesting facts based on my stepdaughters’ random conversations.
Jo has given her time and energy into presenting at our previous events and we look forward to welcoming her back to Coventry this September. To find out more about the NDNA and the work in which they do, visit their website here.