Phanthira Chuamkaew - Carer, King & I Childcare

Phanthira Chuamkaew
'I completed a Professional English Assessment for Teachers (PEAT) course, which helps overseas-qualified teachers become qualified to teach in Australia.'

Phanthira and her husband, Rory, run a family daycare business from their home in Waverley in New South Wales. They both moved from the United Kingdom to Australia four years ago and decided to start their own day care business after Phanthira completed her teaching course from TAFE.

Phanthira is originally from Thailand and has eight years experience in teaching. Known as ‘Dew’ by her kids, she works as a carer in the business and each day she looks after five children aged between one-and-a-half and three.

After opening their home to clients in February, King & I Childcare has experienced phenomenal success. Within their first two weeks of operation they had achieved their full capacity of children.

What qualifications do you have?

I completed a Professional English Assessment for Teachers (PEAT) course, which helps overseas-qualified teachers become qualified to teach in Australia. I have also completed training such as first aid for childcare workers, safe food handling, preparing nutritionally balanced food in a hygienic manner, OH&S training and child protection training.

What regulations are there for people working with children?

The requirements include a police check, you must either own your own home or get permission from a landlord for rented premises, and also you need family day care insurance which covers property and liability insurance, first aid for childcare workers, child protection training and to be registered with a Family Day Care Scheme.

How many children can you care for?

For family day care you are allowed up to five kids per day. There are different requirements for childcare centres as they have ratios that depend on the size of the property, the age of the children and the number of carers.

How is your home organised?

Our house is a three-bedroom semi. The sunroom and master bedroom are kept separate and the children aren’t allowed in there. The children-accessible areas are the hallway, the main living room, a toy and art room, and a dining area, which is part of the kitchen. In the afternoon, the children play in the back garden.

Do you have a structured program?

The children have a daily routine to give them stability. It’s very important for young kids to have stability and know exactly what’s going to happen all the time. It makes them feel much calmer in a structured situation. It’s often difficult for them to settle when it’s the first time they’ve been out of their home. Sometimes we make playdough together, learn to use colours and pens, or do painting activities. We use puzzles, puppets, blocks and musical instruments and I teach them about sharing through these activities. My policy is to get to know them, for them to learn about me and also to interact with each other.

What is the average salary for a day care business?

Waverley Council does not set childcare prices for family day care businesses. Carers are self-employed and so we are free to set our prices. If you provide a good service parents will pay more. The average is $60 to $100 per child, per day.

What do you love most about working with children?

I love that they are very innocent. I love to have fun with them. We dance, sing, do lots of things – it is good fun for all of us. You can’t do this when you work with adults. The children are not too shy to be themselves.

Do you have any tips for someone considering starting their own childcare business?

Have a good heart, be a warm, kind person, and be honest with the children. Your passion for your work should come from the heart – children are innocent and know when you are sincere.

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