Foothill College rings in its fall quarter this week with a new offering – the Family and Nanny Studies Program.
Nicole Kerbey, child development instructor and department chair, said the Family and Nanny Studies Program, created in collaboration with The Institute for Families and Nannies, is unique in that it allows professional nannies to advocate for themselves by pursuing a formal education.
“We know of no other courses offered by an accredited college,” she said. “Families in our area frequently employ nannies, and we believe that they will value specific education for their employees.”
Kerbey said the college has for years offered courses, certificates and degrees in child development and early childhood education, and while they didn’t exclude nannies, the new courses – Communication and Self-Reflection Practices for Nannies, Curriculum in the Home, and Safety and Nutrition of Young Children in the Home – are specifically tailored to them. With the three new courses, in addition to those already available, the overall program provides a well-rounded education for nannies.
“Currently these three new courses can be used toward an Associate in Arts degree in child development, and we hope to soon offer a specific Certificate of Achievement in Nanny and Family Studies as well,” Kerbey said.
Kristen Davis, who developed the curriculum for the Nanny and Family Studies Program and will co-teach the courses, said a successful nanny-parent-child relationship often involves people from different backgrounds who may have different value systems and personal or cultural backgrounds.
“Practice in articulating some of these goals and values, and the rationale for ‘practice’ – what the nanny does and why or how it supports the healthy growth and development of the child across a number of areas – being able to talk about these aspects of the work prepares everyone involved in the child’s care to communicate with one another from a caring, informed perspective,” Davis said.
Child development instructor Jennifer Perez said Foothill’s approach is to elevate the nanny profession. Early childhood education in California has traditionally focused on preparing educators for teaching in center-based programs such as preschool and transitional kindergarten.
“This (program) is specifically designed for the nanny practitioner around partnering with families on diverse approaches to early care and education,” Perez said. “Our aim is to raise visibility to the specialized practice nannies bring to their work with families and young children in the home.”
Kerbey touted another new offering at Foothill: its Introduction to Elementary Teaching course as part of its Elementary Teacher Education AA-T degree. Students will be able to start their coursework at Foothill and in as little as two years, complete their lower-division requirements and transfer to a California State University as a junior.
“The need for teachers is great, and COVID has magnified this problem,” Kerbey said. “Children in classrooms across the Bay Area need passionate, qualified teachers in their classrooms. We can help students start the education they need to be those teachers.”
There is still space available in the Introduction to Elementary Teaching course – Foothill has space to accommodate 40 students, and the college has enrolled 20.
For more information on the program, visit foothill.edu/childdevelopment/nanny.html.