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Child Psychologist

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 8 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Children Child Psychologist Educational

A child psychologist is a psychologist who has a special interest in the issues and problems faced by children.

Why do Some Children Need Psychologists?

Children – however much we would like to think that they are happy and contented and without fear – can face the same trials and tribulations as adults and indeed can sometimes be far more susceptible to psychological and behavioural disorders than adults.

For this reason child psychologists have now become commonplace and the stigma attached to having one treat and counsel our child has now eased.

What Does a Child Psychologist do?

Firstly it is important to note that a child psychologist cannot prescribe medication to a child. The role of the child psychologist is to provide rhyme and reason for children’s behaviour and also to help their parents counteract feelings of depression malcontent and discontent towards those around them.

Many children for example suffer the effects of bullying at school but may never tell their parents. Many children see their bullying as a sign of weakness and telling a parent only makes these feelings manifest themselves ten-fold.

Educational Psychologist

In the field of education a child psychologist may be known as an Educational Psychologist.An Educational Psychologist’s role will involve – for the most part – dealing with children who have psychological disorders or problems brought about by events or stresses related to schooling. As we have already discussed this may have something to do with bullying, which has now reached such a level that all schools have their own policies on how to deal with the problem.

Bullying, as you may or may not be aware, is not simply a case of one child – or group of children – physically attacking a child. There can be name calling, periods of prolonged psychological attack including name calling and rumour mongering, and now with the advent of technology which is widely and cheaply available to all (the Internet and mobile telephones) attacks on an individual of a psychological nature from afar which happen in and out of the school environment; this is often referred to as 'cyber bullying'.

Local Education Authorities (LEAs) employ the services of child psychologists on a regular basis to deal with some of the issues we have already mentioned. Children who are bullied often become withdrawn and find that their schoolwork and their interaction with those around them – children and adult alike – suffers.

Similarly the bullies themselves may need the assistance of a child psychologist to try and understand why they carry out these attacks on others and to bring about a cessation of their violent acts. Bullying, for the most part, is not a pastime that is carried out simply because it is enjoyable, but because there is an underlying force at work.

If a child is suffering abuse in the home – and this abuse does not have to be physical or sexual – it can be psychological or can be the child’s witnessing of events at home involving either parent; then they can resort to bullying others of smaller stature or quiet demeanour in order to bring attention to their own plight.

This is where the Educational Psychologist is called upon to try and judge the nature of the problem and help bring about a resolution that is beneficial to all.This work can be carried out directly or indirectly – depending on the severity of the case and what the psychologist thinks is the best course of action to take.

Intervention

Direct intervention can be through counselling sessions where the psychologist and the child will speak to discuss the problems at hand. The psychologist may employ techniques involving learning materials or visual aids to try and promote a response from the child.

Indirect intervention can be carried out with the help of the parents and/or teachers who – liasing with the psychologist may promote the use of special lessons or classes to engage the child without them feeling pressured to give answers which may otherwise make them feel uneasy.

Becoming a Child Psychologist

A good starting block for anyone wanting to become a child psychologist is experience in any of the following: being a teacher, a learning support assistant (classroom assistant), a care worker, a learning mentor, or educational social worker.

Experience in any of the aforementioned plus the ability to communicate well with children and the relevant educational qualifications is the best way for anyone who wishes to become a child psychologist to make a start up the ladder. Consult your Local Educational Authority (LEA) and/or Social services for more information.

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[Add a Comment]
claire - Your Question:
Hi, my husband walked out on my and my sons 18 months ago with absolutely no warning and moved straight in with his girlfriend. At the time my sons were 13, 10 and 8. It was very traumatic as we all went to bed believing everything was fine and woke up the next day to a very different story. My husband was a mess and when he left simply cried all over the kids and walked out offering no explanation or reassurance. The day he left my 10 year old pretty much begged him to stay. Told him he was the best dad in the world, told him we'd all forgive him, said he couldn't just choose to stop being his dad after 10 years etc etc. He completely exposed himself and laid his feelings bare and my husband walked out on him as I say with no words or reassurance. Since then my son has refused to even be in the same room as him and throws away immediately any cards, presents that my husband sends. I tried to get him counselling a few months ago but he threatened to run away and said he'd go and live with my parents. On the whole I think he is ok at the moment. The problem is that everyone else (my husband, divorce solicitors etc) think we need to try to make him see my husband but I want to do what's best for him. How do we know that he hasn't made the right decision for him? His Dad let him down dreadfully and he says he doesn't want to know someone who treats people like that. I know it isn't that simple but at what point do we stop trying to force him and let him work it out in his own way. FYI I always encourage he see his dad where possible and never speak badly of him in front of the children.

Our Response:
I'm afraid if the matter goes to court and the court decides there is little you can do. However, before the hearing it is likely that Cafcass will get involved and your son will be asked his opinion regarding whether he wishes to see his dad or not. The court will usually adhere to the Cafcass report and what it recommends. However, your son's father is entitled to either try to resolve the issue through mediation and if mediation is unsuccessful he can apply to court. Obviously your son feels hurt, angry and rejected, but if he has to date had a close relationship with his dad, hopefully with a bit of counselling these issues can be resolved.
WorkingWithKids - 15-Jun-17 @ 4:15 PM
Hi, my husband walked out on my and my sons 18 months ago with absolutely no warning and moved straight in with his girlfriend.At the time my sons were 13, 10 and 8.It was very traumatic as we all went to bed believing everything was fine and woke up the next day to a very different story.My husband was a mess and when he left simply cried all over the kids and walked out offering no explanation or reassurance.The day he left my 10 year old pretty much begged him to stay. Told him he was the best dad in the world, told him we'd all forgive him, said he couldn't just choose to stop being his dad after 10 years etc etc.He completely exposed himself and laid his feelings bare and my husband walked out on him as I say with no words or reassurance.Since then my son has refused to even be in the same room as him and throws away immediately any cards, presents that my husband sends.I tried to get him counselling a few months ago but he threatened to run away and said he'd go and live with my parents.On the whole I think he is ok at the moment.The problem is that everyone else (my husband, divorce solicitors etc) think we need to try to make him see my husband but I want to do what's best for him.How do we know that he hasn't made the right decision for him?His Dad let him down dreadfully and he says he doesn't want to know someone who treats people like that.I know it isn't that simple but at what point do we stop trying to force him and let him work it out in his own way.FYI I always encourage he see his dad where possible and never speak badly of him in front of the children.
claire - 8-Jun-17 @ 12:28 PM
My 6 he old son has started to refuse to do his school work at school. He is very stubborn and I have to try hard to coerce him to do his homework too. He seems happy enough at playtimes and when he his having fun. He is bright and doesn't struggle with his work at all. However he does like to play games such as pretending to be a dog and we have to interact with the dog!
AJ - 4-May-17 @ 9:07 AM
Pidgenpie- Your Question:
My 16 year old nephew is suffering anxiety and depression he's having treatment he's to anxious to go to any sort of education but social services are saying he must go to collage is this true

Our Response:
Now the school leaving age has been extended to 18, once a child reaches the age of 16, they must then do one of the following; stay in full-time education i.e, college, start an apprenticeship or traineeship or spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training, please see link here. If the child drops out of school or college, then they will both forfeit any state financial support, plus the LEA will attempt to make sure the child conforms to the law. You can see more in the article here.
WorkingWithKids - 29-Mar-17 @ 11:45 AM
My 16 year old nephew is suffering anxiety and depression he's having treatment he's to anxious to go to any sort of education but social services are saying he must go to collage is this true
Pidgenpie - 28-Mar-17 @ 5:19 PM
Hi my son is nearly six and we have been referred to a child pahycologist he's always had a temper and it has flared up so much this week he is also frightened about death anxious about what people think of him thinks everybody hates him he is very aggressive hits things screams at the top of his lungs repeats things over and over again he can go through a month or a bit longer of great behaviour then he seems to dip and this behavior starts and can go on for over a month he is very good in school on his good times but as soon as it dips his school work and behaviour goes down to the point where he can be removed from the classroom I'm really concerned and just needed some advice his diet is also very limited has to be the same kind of food all the time I just don't know what to do anymore it's worrying me
Tasha - 14-Jan-17 @ 1:03 AM
IBK - Your Question:
Hi,I need some advice. My 3 year old daughter is struggling with confidence both at home and in school especially around adults and it I affecting her learning. As soon as she is told to do anything that has to do with learning, she just starts to cry and say I don;t know how how to do it. I know she knows it but she just finds it difficult to settle down. It frustrates me as well seeing as she is always crying and never makes attempt to do things. Her teachers in nursery are also worried that she is not at the expected learning stage because she doesn't seem to want to practice things. All she does in school is cry as well. Nothing we tried worked. We have tried praising her to help boost her confidence but it doesn't work. I don't have ideas of what to do that can help her and it breaks my heart that she is lagging behind.I am not sure what to do, please help with ny ideas that can work.

Our Response:
As yet it is a phase she may grow out of and is perfectly normal of some children who are shy and still uncertain about the big, new world going on around them. A previous bad experience in a learning or another area that may have made her scared to explore new things, or made her feel insecure. If you feel concerned, and your her nursery teachers agree she has a level of social anxiety that is impacting on her development, then a trip to the GP may help. Our page: Building Confidence in Children, heremay help along with various other online sites or self-help books. Children may be small, but they are also sensitive enough to be affected by all manner of issues surrounding us, and yet at the same time can also bounce back once they have become adjusted. Being gentle and not forcing the issue is one approach, for instance; Rudolph Steiner Schools believe their children should not learn in the first few years (until they are aged seven) and should develop naturally through play alone.
WorkingWithKids - 26-Feb-16 @ 2:05 PM
Hi, I need some advice. My 3 year old daughter is struggling with confidence both at home and in school especially around adults and it i affecting her learning. As soon as she is told to do anything that has to do with learning, she just starts to cry and say I don;t know how how to do it. I know she knows it but she just finds it difficult to settle down. It frustrates me as well seeing as she is always crying and never makes attempt to do things. Her teachers in nursery are also worried that she is not at the expected learning stage because she doesn't seem to want to practice things. All she does in school is cry as well. Nothing we tried worked. We have tried praising her to help boost her confidence but it doesn't work. I don't have ideas of what to do that can help her and it breaks my heart that she is lagging behind. I am not sure what to do, please help with ny ideas that can work.
IBK - 25-Feb-16 @ 5:05 PM
Derek- Your Question:
Hi there I'm looking for some advice.My 9 year old son seems to have difficulty in talking to my wife who is his step mum.He goes through fases where he will speak with her and then just won't acknowledge that she even exists.We have been together for 5 years and my son has lived with us for most of that time.He has recently started wetting his bed and also does things then acts as if he can't remember doing it.I've took him to see camhs who said he was just acting like a normal 9 year old but I think there's more to it. can you help please

Our Response:
What is your wife's opinion of this? You don't say what her feelings are and what her relationship is towards your son, therefore it makes it hard to give advice. With regards to your son, bed-wetting, while most kids are able to stay dry through the night shortly after mastering daytime potty training, about 15-20% of six year olds, 2-3% of 14 year olds, and 1% of kids 15 and over still wet the bed. Since boys are slower to develop physically, they are three times more likely to be bedwetters than girls. Bed-wetting can either be a physical reaction such as having a small bladder. Or a more psychological one where emotional upset and anxiety, whether short term or prolonged, can increase the chances that your child will wet the bed. Really, you are the person that can most answer your question, as you are the person who has the closest relationship to your son. Have you sat him down and asked him directly, but gently why he ignores his step-mother? Communication should be with him first and foremost, as this will give you the information and tools to work towards resolving this issue. I hope this helps.
WorkingWithKids - 19-Nov-15 @ 10:07 AM
Hi there I'm looking for some advice. My 9 year old son seems to have difficulty in talking to my wife who is his step mum. He goes through fases where he will speak with her and then just won't acknowledge that she even exists. We have been together for 5 years and my son has lived with us for most of that time. He has recently started wetting his bed and also does things then acts as if he can't remember doing it. I've took him to see camhs who said he was just acting like a normal 9 year old but I think there's more to it. can you help please
Derek - 18-Nov-15 @ 10:48 AM
Derek - Your Question:
Hi there I have a 9 year old son with ADHDHe was diagnosed last year but for the past 5 years since he came to live with my wife and I he has been a nightmare he goes through phases of not speaking to my wife and making her really uncomfortable. He draws looks at her and does his best to make her feel like she's not wanted.I have took him to time to talk sessions but that didn't bring anything out. It's now came to the stage where my wife is giving me an ultimate to either make him go back to his mums or she is leaving.I really need help or advise as I don't want to lose my family.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this, it really is a tricky situation if you have been asked to choose between your wife and your son. Have you thought about mediation between your wife, your ex and yourself in a bid to try and resolve the situation? As a rule, mediation, is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court. Mediation takes place in front of a neutral third party. The mediator has no pre-conceptions and will not force you to make an agreement. They will assist the parties in taking turns in the conversation, and helping you reach an agreement that you are ready to agree with. Mediators do not pass judgment or offer guidance; they are there, in effect, to facilitate conversation between the sides. The participants have to come to mediation with an open mind and be willing to discuss things maturely and without wanting to provoke confrontation. Perhaps, in this case, it may be an option, so that you can all come together in order to discuss what is best for the family and best for your son.
WorkingWithKids - 7-Oct-15 @ 2:35 PM
Hi there I have a 9 year old son with ADHD He was diagnosed last year but for the past 5 years since he came to live with my wife and I he has been a nightmare he goes through phases of not speaking to my wife and making her really uncomfortable. He draws looks at her and does his best to make her feel like she's not wanted. I have took him to time to talk sessions but that didn't bring anything out. It's now came to the stage where my wife is giving me an ultimate to either make him go back to his mums or she is leaving. I really need help or advise as I don't want to lose my family.
Derek - 7-Oct-15 @ 8:33 AM
@cynthia - I have included an article from Family Lives, which although it is predominantly about step-parents does raise the same issues, link here and should answer your question. You can also call Family Lives for some further advice about how to introduce your child to her biological father. I hope this helps.
WorkingWithKids - 4-Jun-15 @ 12:47 PM
hi I have a 6year old girl I recently find out that the dad she knows for six years is not her biological dad now I am faced with the fear of telling her how will she understand that which age should I tell her and how do I introduce the real father so confused
cynthia - 2-Jun-15 @ 3:15 PM
@Shannon - as it is so out of character I would sit down with your son and ask him if there is any reason for his behaviour to see if there is something underlying that is bothering him. Then if you don't get a answer I would perhaps take him to your GP. It may just be a passing phase, but it seems odd if he doesn't usually behave like this.
Mel - 6-Jan-15 @ 10:00 AM
Hi my son ,who is five in he's firstyear at school he was justlike the over kids loved it in September when hemoved to he's new class he was still ok .it all began when i went on holidayfor week with my mum when i came back he'steachers justcouldn't wait to tell me what's going on as they were telling me about my son's behaviour i just couldn't believe it they were saying things like they at to restrain him as he was apparently he was lashing outat the teachers ,he wouldn't listen, not doingany work, and thiswas happening everyday for weeksi had metings with the head we've spoke a lot. The hardest thingsfor me to get my head is I'venever seenmy son in this behaviour. So we've spoken andthey thinka psychologist would be the next best things for my son but to my i think is a step to far as he's only five but I'll do what'sbest for my child. What do you think
Shannon - 6-Jan-15 @ 12:30 AM
@Julie316 - While I can't make any comments on your situation directly, I can understand the frustration you may be feeling and can offer a few options that may help you. Firstly, if you need to talk to someone about your situation more in depth then you could try the Family Lives helplinelink here . They can offer free and confidential advice and may be able to help with some direction, especially if you draw attention to the fact that you have a difficulty with words and feel like the situation is getting out of control. You could also try and get some legal advice and help from the Citizen's Advice Bureau who will give free advice on how you can take things forward. If you are unhappy with the way Cafcass is dealing with your case then you could look into taking it to the Parliamentary and Health Sevice Ombudsman link here. I hope this helps.
WorkingWithKids - 11-Nov-14 @ 10:05 AM
Just need general advice, I've been in and out of court for 4 half years my ex wanted contact with his daughter, I have dealt with this on my own due to not getting legal aid. I am not very good with words so keep getting myself in trouble, I have had a section 37 looking at care proceedings 2 years ago. The problem I have had is cafcass writing reports which are full of liars and only interested in the father. My problem now is a guardian has been appointed and she had written a awful report my daughter who is 7 has to see a psycolgist now as it has been said now it's emotional abuse, I have been Treated unfair and is extremely upset as how to deal with this person as if he writes a bad report my daughter will have to live with her father, just to point out I have grown up children and there have never been any problems, my ex is causing these problems, can you advise me how to help my daughter and my self to deal with this.
julie316 - 9-Nov-14 @ 5:31 PM
@workingwithkids Do you know about the possible routes after a foundation degree in counselling? I've just started the course this month and I'm halfway through a counselling diploma. I am trying to find the next step to enable me to work with children,
Linsey - 10-Oct-14 @ 8:52 PM
@julie Have you thought of doing an Open University course? It would be one way around not having to go into university each day. It lists a foundation degree in counselling and a BSc honours in psychology. Dyslexia is a recognised disability under the Equality Act 2010, so there is a lot of help out there with universities and colleges offering extra funding and support. The level of support available can vary, and might include extra time allowed to finish exams, extra time for completion of assignments and a learning support tutor. The British Dyslexia Association can help with more advice. Any organisation you apply to should get back to you with information, so I'm not sure what's happened there. As you might be aware there are also different levels of counselling and psycotherapy courses which you can take which might not be full time. Have a look online there will be something suitable out there for you. Good luck.
WorkingWithKids - 10-Oct-14 @ 2:52 PM
hi, i am 27, a mum of two and i have worked with children since i was 16, including working with adults and children with a wide range of special needs. i have a level three in child care and education and have also completed my child protection course at work. My life long dream is to become a child psychotherapist but realistically i am quite dyslectic and have two children still primary school age so i will struggle to go to university but i no i have what it takes so i wont give up completely basically id like some advice as iv been looking through courses and the internet for weeks and courses i have applied for haven't even bothered replying. but what i want to no is for one is their anyway of me doing a psychology course then a counseling course that i could be some sort of counselor for under 16ns and/or what can i do to get their without actually having to go to uni everyday? any advise would be appreciated thank you . julie
julie - 9-Oct-14 @ 8:08 PM
Hello I am In need of important advice my little girl who is 20 months does not know her dad because he works away in another country with his new wife and new baby son.He has only seen her 4 times since last July 2012.Those 4 times it has only been for a day.She has extreme stranger anxiety and constantly needs her secure base.When he has her he takes her for the full day, she screams but they say that she calms down soon.His contact is court ordered so I have to let her go. MY main concern is that he is asking for her for 4 days in the summer, to take her to where he works to stay in family home, also he wants her before that for 2 full days to take her down south to see his family.I'm all for my little girl to get to know her dad and spend more time with him but I'm scared about the separation and what it will do to her?? Please help.
LINDS - 12-Mar-13 @ 1:59 PM
To whom it may concern I'm a psychology graduate I'm very keen to work within Psychological field. In the past I have carried out work experience with adults with mental health problems. Currently I'm volunteering to assistant care for an Autistic Child. I have looked through your website found a vacancy posted in child psychology. I'm very keen to find work within your organisation. I'm very much looking forward to hear from you in the near future. You may contact me on 07554001003 Many thanks Shazia
Shazey - 11-Sep-12 @ 1:42 PM
Hi Jack. Your seven year old is just a normal who needs the help of an educational or child psychologist.It's important to note who's giving him info about his brain not working.You may also want to know where he got that from, I'd you start from there. Sometimes these kids become a product of what they 've been hearing over time and then it gets registered am not saying this is the cause. Interview him indirectly so he's not aware). On the issue of getting easily horrified,what are kind of movies he watches on Tv? Are they horror? Vamipires are NO-NO! From your comment, he might have a disorder known as Agorophobia(fright for crowd). Some big celebrities suffer from this disorder. You son is only a child and I have high hopes he would over this phases. Finally, for his lunch box case,I can only hope no one is compelling to finish all his meal both at home and school. Threatening or forcing kids to eat is not a good bargain. But as much as food is important, he should be allowed to eat in small quantity at a time. Ultimately get him the above therapist. Goodluck!!
Utchay - 21-Jul-12 @ 6:20 AM
Hello Trace. I know you are a lot bothered already,so calm down for a moment. For your 10yr old daughter,you need to empower her the more by allowing her be more independent in most things she does,if not all. Use positive reinforcement for her when she's clingy ( telling she's a big girl and that big girls don't cry et al). Find her strengths and build on them. Pair her with a friendslightly has a different personalty as her. The supposed child mist be one with positive attitudes both in and out. Lastly,always let her know she can do it but in the mean time, get her an educational psychologist. Thanks.
Edu. Psychologist - 21-Jul-12 @ 5:50 AM
My 10 year old daughter has always been quite a clingy child even though we have a good family very supportive, however school has always been a major mine field for her, she has always enjoyed school loves lessons even though she has to try harder than others but she seems to struggle with other children she never joins in she doesn't have many friends she cries all the time as she wants to come home she says no one is bullying her and I believe her but she just can't cope with school life. When we're in the park she makes friends easily , seen the teacher hundreds of time she tells me she's wobbily at school good days and bad, I am at the end of my tether I spend hours worrying about her any advise please
Trace - 11-Jun-12 @ 10:03 AM
My just turned 7yr old son has lots of worries, he has never mixed well with children other than the ones in his year at school, and even some of those he seems afraid of , he is well behaved at school but very quiet, at home he is a good boy apart from when things dont go his way , he then hits me and punches me , he has even thrown things at me in temper, he is scared to go to bed without someone upstairs with him, so as soon as you mention the word bed he lashes out and fights about going to bed.He doesnt get tired until at least 9pm and doesnt go to sleep till nearly 10pm on a good night.He seems scared of people, not wanting to go in resturants shops or anywhere there are crowds, he wont play in the park unless we are the only ones in there.He tells me that at school he cant do the work, he says his brain dont work, he is scared to go to the toilet in case the fire alarm goes off, scared to play at lunchtime incase a child joins in that he doesnt know, scared to go to sleep in case his heart stops, scared they are going to check his lunchbox to make sure he has eaten enough, poor boy, why has he got so many worries , i think he needs some sort of help, would a child psychologist be able to help !
Jack - 23-May-12 @ 10:32 PM
Hi, I am a qualified primary teacher but would really like to look at other options Education Psychologist looks like something I could be good at I like listening to children and talking to them on a personal level. I would like to know how long is the course that I would need to take?
Mai - 24-Mar-12 @ 10:19 PM
Dear anje, I definitely think you should bring your granddaughter to a child's psychologist. If unsolved, problems tend to get deeper and cause more problems and confusion. I vividly remember how i had problems at school and i didn't want to share with my parents because i was convinced they cannot help me. I couldn't manage the situation by myself and things got deeper. I was lonely, unhappy and estranged both at home and school. Go to a specialist - it is worth it.
annie - 1-Mar-12 @ 3:47 PM
My granddaughter, who is nearly 8, loved her first yr at school. She loved books and was eager to read. The next yr she was not happy at school, but she was unable to say why. Since then the problem with reading has gotten much worse. She can read, and is above average, reading levels 14/15, but will not read anything that is not set by the school, on the syllabus. Asked to read at home, she has hour long tantrums and crying fits. My daughter has talked to the teacher, tried doing nothing, tried rewards etc. but she is now despairing, as her daughter seems to have a problem she is unable to articulate.Should my daughter try a child psychologist? or what do you suggest?
annje - 27-Feb-12 @ 5:40 PM
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