Ask the Nanny Women to Watch – Angela Johnson chats with Elizabeth Malson of US Nanny Institute

Ask the Nanny hosted a Facebook Live with Elizabeth Malson, President and Founder of US Nanny Institute

In case you missed it, Ask the Nanny hosted a Facebook Live with Elizabeth Malson, President and Founder of Amslee Institute, which offers online training and childcare diploma programs for nannies, mannies, and babysitters.

Many topics were discussed and enjoy the re-play to learn about:

  • Amslee Institute’s programs and how they benefit childcare providers
  • Angela’s career from a mother’s helper to a teacher to professional nanny
  • Scholarships and tuition saving programs
  • How being a nanny differs from an early childhood education teacher
  • How to become a professional nanny

About Ask the Nanny. Ask the Nanny is a weekly Facebook live forum where nannies and mannies enlighten each other about various topics based on the Nanny community’s need. Ask the Nanny is hosted by Angela Johnson Sutherland, who is known as “the baby whisperer” and “The Third Parent”. Follow @askthenanny on Facebook.

Dr. Alaina Desjardin, author of Theories of Child Development, Advanced Children, and Children at Risk.

Dr. Alaina Desjardin, Adjunct Faculty member and course author of Theories of Child Development, Advanced Children, and Children at Risk.

Dr. Alaina Desjardin earned a Doctorate of Business Administration from Northcentral University, Masters of Public Administration from Ashford University, Masters of Arts in Teaching in Special Education from New Jersey City University, and a Masters of Urban Education with specialization in Leadership from New Jersey City University. Dr. Desjardin is licensed in New Jersey as a Certified Educational Principal, Certified Educational Supervisor, Certified Teacher of Students with Disabilities, and K-6 Generalist Teacher.

You’ve taught 3 courses and let’s begin by sharing some insights from the Theories of Child Development. The course dives deep into Attachment Theory, the Eight Psychosocial Crisis, and Cognitive Development Theory but can you share how Nannies benefit from knowing about these different theories?

Dr. Desjardin: The child development theories are a set of ideas to describe, explain, and predict behavior. They help us understand the meaning of what we observe and create a basis for understanding what and why children are behaving the way they are. This helps us understand how to best interpret the child’s actions and respond.

What are the stages of child development?

Dr. Desjardin: The standard periods of development are usually broken into prenatal from conception to birth, newborn and infancy up to one year, toddlers, early childhood which goes to 6 years, middle childhood through 12 years, and adolescence is between 12-19 years old. Child development can also be described in three domains and growth in one domain influences the other domains. The domains include the following: physical domain which focuses on body size, appearance, brain development which includes cognitive development of intellectual and decision-making abilities, and the social and emotional domain which includes self-knowledge and moral reasoning, interpersonal skills, and friendships.

Why is child development important?

Dr. Desjardin: Early years of infancy to childhood are an important time for child development. Nannies can help promote activities that create the basis of intelligence, personality, social behavior, and create a capacity to learn and nurture oneself as an adult. There is significant evidence that links the circumstances of habits formed in early years to behaviors in adulthood.

There is consistent evidence that demonstrates brain development is most rapid in the early years of life. If the quality of stimulation for the child, support and nurturing is deficient, child development can seriously be impacted. However, early interventions for children have the potential to lead to improvements in the youth’s survival, health, growth, and cognitive and social development. If the early years are healthy with lots of support physically, cognitively, and emotionally, children gain a foundation that can help them thrive.

Children who receive good care or interventional services in their early years achieve more success at school and as a result become adults that have higher employment and earnings, better health, and lower levels of dependence than those who don’t have these early opportunities.

What are the benefits of early childhood education?

Dr. Desjardin: The benefits from a scientific view focuses on the notion that brain development is on overdrive during the childhood years before typical schooling takes place. In addition, the socioeconomic impacts of early childhood education find that the benefits of quality-based programs are far more beneficial – to the economy, workforce, and beyond.

Children with access to early childhood education and interventional services typically gain an advantage. Specifically, early childhood education helps children do better in elementary school, have higher test scores, go on to college or another avenue of education or training, have higher incomes by the time they are in their middle ages and have a lower likelihood of being incarcerated for crimes.

From a parent or caregiver perspective, early childhood education helps children develop. Specifically, children gain good nutrition and physical exercise for physical development as well as hands-on experiences for fine motor skills. Children are often in groups and learn social skills such as sharing, managing their emotions, and responding to other children’s emotions.

How can Nannies use child development stages to help care for children?

Dr. Desjardin: Let’s use an example to help clarify the connections. Imagine that you observed the following scene: Stacy is sitting at the art table using markers. Jenny joins her at the table and begins to cut with scissors. Jenny picks up a paper that Stacy has discarded into the center of the table and begins to cut it into 2 equal pieces. Stacy looks over at Jenny working, jumps up so quickly that she knocks her chair over and cries out, “No! That is mine!” while ripping the paper from her hands. Before the teacher can reach the area, Stacy and Jenny are hitting each other.

There are multiple perspectives that can be used to interpret the behaviors of Stacy and Jenny. Each theory used to interpret the behavior will lead us to a different way to address or begin to resolve this situation.

For example:

1. A teacher/caregiver informed by psychosocial theory might conclude that Jenny and Stacy are struggling with the conflict of guilt. Here they are demonstrating independence in planning and undertaking activities but are experiencing conflict about how to communicate these plans to others. This teacher/caregiver might decide to help the students learn strategies for conveying and carrying out ideas when working with others.

2. A teacher/caregiver working from social learning theory may suggest that the children have learned this response from observing models in the environment. The children are imitating behavior that they observed other children doing. The teacher/caregiver will most likely decide to actively model non-aggressive strategies for solving problems.

3. A teacher/caregiver knowledge of cognitive-developmental theory may think that the students have constructed from past experiences a mental schema that involved solving problems with force. This teacher/caregiver might provide concrete experiences in which non-aggressive solutions are highlighted and discussed so that the children will begin to accommodate a plan for solving problems.

We’ve talked a bit about child development theories, let’s talk about children at risk. If a child is part of a financially secure family, they aren’t at risk, right?

Dr. Desjardin: In the US, up to 25% of those under the age of 17 are “at risk”. This means about 18 million youths are facing issues with poverty, health, family problems, substandard living conditions, and inadequate education. At risk describes students who are considered to have a higher probability of failing academically or dropping out of school. Any child can be at risk, and financial security is only one of many factors that can create challenges for our youth. Influences can include pop culture, peers, dysfunction in the family, and personality disorders. Factors affiliated with ‘at risk’ youths include their age, social media, sexual activity, social groups/gangs, drug use, and gender.

What do ‘at risk’ youths need to succeed?

Dr. Desjardin: There are many aspects and attributes that “at risk” youth require to succeed in a positive platform in the school and home environment. A shortened list includes positive family communication, family support and involvement, community ties, and positive role models and influence. Increasing positive community ties has the potential to improve economic outcomes for at risk youth and has the likelihood to reduce negative or risk-taking behaviors. The strengthen and mobilizing of communities has the ability to build strong youth which in turn develops into ideal role model citizens. The community relationship does not only include social services initiatives but could also include the media, local business leaders, faith communities, policymakers, recreation availabilities, schools, juvenile justice, housing authority, and law enforcement. Nannies can be an important part of family and community support.

You shared up to 25% of children are at risk, what percentage of children are advanced?

Dr. Desjardin: Federal reports approximate 3-5% of the school population can be considered gifted or talented. Giftedness refers to children and youth with outstanding talent who perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with others their age, experience or environment. Talented learners are those who have particular abilities in sport, music, design or creative and performing arts.

What are some common misconceptions about advanced children?

Dr. Desjardin: There are many myths and misconceptions about advanced youth. Some feel all children and people are gifted but, in this case, the definition of advanced focuses on a child with an outstanding talent. Others believe gifted students must be high achievers; however, not all gifts are academic. A child can be gifted musically or artistically while struggling to understand math. Along these lines, it’s possible that a child can be advanced or gifted in one specific area and at the same time have a disability in another area. Another misconception is that gifted students only come from advantaged homes.

How can Nannies support advanced children?

Dr. Desjardin: The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented shares helpful strategies when working with advanced and gifted children. These include evaluating your parenting or caregiver style to align with the child, focusing on positive aspects of behavior, and providing unstructured time. Nannies can also provide an enriched environment with lots of materials and opportunities for exploration. Creativity requires a nurturing and expressive environment, so allow for regression, solitude, and divergent thinking. Finally, use every date tasks to help with decision making and make learning fun. A child’s motivation and interest will increase if pressure is taken off homework and other academic material.

Thank you, Dr. Desjardin, for your time tonight!! If you aren’t already, please follow Amslee Institute on social media to see weekly articles published by our faculty and other Facebook live chats.

To learn more, an Advanced Children and Children at Risk courses are available with enrollment in the Childcare programs.

Kim Roberts, Nanny Expert Announcing New Mentorship Program

Kim has been a professional nanny for 17 years and has over 20 years of experience with children.

Our Facebook live guest is Kimberley Roberts. Kim has been a professional nanny for 17 years and has over 20 years of experience with children. She has worked as a kindergarten teacher, reading specialist, newborn care specialist, and caregiver. In 2014, she received the title, “Mama” and began to bring her son, Simon, to work with her. Kim is the Nanny Expert for Via The Village and is a passionate advocate for Nannies. Her goal is to elevate the nanny profession through education and networking.

Can you share a bit about your nanny career and what has kept you engaged throughout your nanny career?

Kim: My nanny career started in college for my teaching degree. I was a summer nanny for a family and loved every second of it, having babysat at age 12 for 6 kids. I was paid 50 cents per kid per hour and thought $3 per hour was fantastic. I’ve always loved children and knew since 2nd grade that I’d work with children.

I taught kindergarten for 2 years, nannying during the summer. After 2 years of teaching, a high-profile family called me and offered a full-time nanny position, making more than I was as a teacher. I was less experienced at the time and I didn’t do my research and in 2005, there weren’t Facebook groups or online communities. Most people didn’t know what a nanny was other than Mary Poppins or British Nannies. For me, it was different because I was treated as the help, not a part of the family. I wasn’t prepared for having to use a side entrance, not being allowed to talk to my boss but go through a household manager and having to ask permission to leave the house. We had paparazzi hiding in the trees, so it was intense. It was a wonderful experience but difficult as some weeks, I worked over 100 hours. I was exhausted and love it, it was great.

What kinds of things would help someone who didn’t have a great first experience as a nanny or what challenges are more relevant today as nannies are more popular?

Kim: My first family had the attitude that I was there to help their family run more smoothly, The mom referred to me as, “her wife” and to the children as, “aunt Kim.” I was part of the family from the beginning and that was amazing. I’ve been viewed as the third parent and those are the positions that I’ve really appreciated.

I tell younger nannies that those are the families you want to work for. You want families that see this as a career choice or a professional and should be treated as a profession. I encourage nannies to ask families during the interview process, “how do you see my role in the family?” Do you see me as a surrogate family member or an employee? Can I come to you with issues and how are we going to resolve conflicts?

One of the biggest things I tell nannies is that you have to have a contract. Contracts are so important to make sure you all are on the same page about as much as possible. Nanny-Family relations are so unique, and nannies are part of the family, helping to raise the children. There’s no other job with the same dynamic between an employer and employee. There are resources to help as Via The Village offers free contracts for individuals and nanny shares.

Elizabeth: I’ll share as well that Amslee Institute has a free 30-minute class with 3 different contracts you can download. There is a one-page Sitter contract, a full-time nanny contract, and a thorough 15-page contract for live-ins. These downloads are designed to be templates and tools to help you think through and then modify them to make them your own. I love there are resources at Via The Village and Amslee to help everyone.

In working with Via The Village, what are some common misconceptions families have about working with nannies?

Kim: A lot of misconceptions comes around the responsibilities that they think a nanny should have or they just have no idea what a nanny does. Families want a list, do nannies clean toilets, do they walk dogs, or do I pay them extra to walk my dog? Do I clean my house before the nanny arrives or is that something she takes care of? It’s something that Via The Village is trying to tackle and a lot of agencies and other online resources that are listing nanny responsibilities. Families just don’t always have an idea of what a nanny does.

[Jokingly] Families want a nanny with a college degree to clean our toilets and walk our dog and give us foot massages, but we want to pay $48 an hour, [Laughing].

Elizabeth: [Laughing] Right! We joke about it but we are also advocates in the community to build awareness and education what value professional nannies really bring to a family to help it run smoothly. Nannies earn paid vacations, sick days, reimbursement for mileage – all the things other full or part-time employees receive.

You’ve shared a lot about your career and helping others, if you had to outline from beginning to where you are, what are the career stage?

Kim: The majority of nannies often start as a babysitter and some nannies may start as a mother’s helper. A mother’s helper is a babysitter that works with a stay at home parent, supervised by the parent to help out. That can be a position someone over the age of 18 can hold but usually, they are caregivers with less experience. Then there is the entry-level nanny who may or may not have any training or certification. These nannies may have a few years of experience. Then, there are experienced nanny’s with several years of paid childcare and usually have some type of continuing education. As advocates for nannies, we are trying to do a better job of training and providing resources to newer Nannies. Via The Village is providing a list of training courses available, including Amslee Institute. Then, there are Specialist Nannies who may train in Montessori, a teaching degree, or a travel nanny. Beyond that, you can go in many directions including becoming a doula. I recently got my certification as a doula. There are a lot of nannies can do to advance their own careers, there are resources out there.

One of the things you are passionate about is advocating for nannies and helping those early in their careers to develop and grow. What are some of the things at Via The Village that are helping nannies?

Kim: We are working on a program, Via The Village Mentor Program. We are looking for experienced nannies who are looking to help younger nannies. Maybe you are a younger nanny who needs help finding a position or help with a resume, or you are having an issue with a family and don’t know what to do. We are hoping the newer nannies will reach out so we can pair them with a mentor to help them out. There are a lot of nannies who leave the field because they get burned out and don’t know who to ask for help or resources. If you don’t have a support system, it can be challenging or lonely working with children 10 hours a day. You can get burned out really quickly without nanny friends.

How do you join Via The Village Mentorship Program?

Kim: Nannies can reach out directly to me at, Once we have a good number of mentors and those seeking to be mentored, we will start pairing people together. We are hoping to pair people together in the same areas, but that depends on who we have signed up. Just reach out.

Elizabeth: We do these live chats each week so let us know if there is a guest you’d like to see. We are alternating between industry leaders like Kim with Amslee faculty members. We also publish a faculty written article each week so let me know if you have a topic you’d like from a faculty member.

What are your thoughts on nanny training opportunities?

Kim: When I started sharing I was going to be on Facebook tonight, I was asked, “what is Amslee Institute?” When I explained, they got excited about it. I just want to mention how much I appreciate, as an educator, that your program is licensed by the Department of Education, they are extremely rigorous, congratulations. I also like that all Amslee classes are taught by a Master’s degree teacher, it is fantastic.

Elizabeth: Thank you! It took us over a year and a half. The Department of Education has a requirement that you can’t talk about the program until you are fully licensed. So, we kind of came out of nowhere a few months ago. We were committed to the correct process and thank you so much because it’s our way of truly demonstrating who we are as an organization and the commitment and quality we want to bring to the industry.

Thank you, Kim, for your time tonight!! If you aren’t already, please follow Via The Village and Amslee Institute on social media.

About Via The Village. Via The Village is a web-based networking platform connecting families, nannies, and nanny shares. Nannies and Families can sign up (free), create a profile, and start building a village. Not only can nannies search for new positions or a nanny share family – they can find other nannies employed near them to meet up for play dates or provide backup care.

Andrea Sammons, author of Children and Art

Andrea earned her Master of Art in Teaching and Bachelor of Art in Studio Art-Ceramics from Georgia College and State University.

Our Facebook live guest is Andrea Sammons, a licensed teacher and artist in North Dakota. Andrea earned her Master of Art in Teaching and Bachelor of Art in Studio Art-Ceramics from Georgia College and State University. Andrea is qualified to teach K-12 and she taught high school art for several years. Her passion is ceramics and pottery with her home potter’s wheel and kiln. You can see her pottery on Etsy @Andrea Sammons Studio.

Tell me about your childhood and how art played a role in your development and growth.

Andrea: For me as a kid growing up in Georgia, I had art as early as I can remember. Honestly, there’s not a time I don’t remember art. I’ve always had a giant box of crayons, markers, color pencils and everything. When it rained, I went into the back yard and dug up clay.

Art’s really given me a different mindset and I didn’t realize that until later in life. Art teaches me to think in different ways, guiding me towards a growth mindset.

Art was clearly your passion and major in college, how did Georgia College and State University develop a disciplined approach to your art.

Andrea: Before I went to college, I did art hit or miss and doodled or colored because I wanted to do it. Art is fun; something I can do; it’s easy. There was no rhyme or reason. After going to GCSU, it took a while but when I graduated, I left with a deeper appreciation of art. Art is more. I got very disciplined and more structured. I gained organizational skills to list materials, store materials, and when to refill them. Art also gave me a lot of direction. I could start with one idea and springboard to other ideas. Art is endless, and I learned how to refine methods to pursue things that pushed me as an artist.

Elizabeth: Emma is sharing that you are amazing and that you have taught her so much! She says to never underestimate how much art matters and how much it helps people.

Can you share a bit about how art helps people?

Andrea: It’s really cool to have a student watching. Although they think they learn a ton from me, by taking the course and learning to teach art, you can learn so much from them. I could walk into my class one morning, see someone is going through something, and change up the lesson to help. Art can be used to help people relax.

We had a class at 1 pm and we were hungry, waiting to go to the last lunch session. Students would come in bummed out and hangry. Sorry, this makes me so happy, I tear up a bit. They would come into that class and they would tell me that my class was the reason they stayed in school that day or just the reason to stay in school at all. The class was where they could come, and they knew they’d be safe and they could be 110% genuine. If you need to cry, then cry, do what you need to do. Sometimes they would have free art and could do their own work. They could be themselves and express themselves in a judgment-free environment.

Elizabeth: Amslee students who have taken your course are also watching tonight. One of our

Nanny Experts has shared that she really likes how the art class taught several different ways it was beneficial to children emotionally, creatively and so many other ways! She learned a ton from your class and wanted to say thank you.

Andrea: Thank you so much. I want you to feel that it has literally come from my heart and that you can place it in your heart and spread it around. I hope in the future others can benefit the same way, feel the same way, and I’m thankful for that.

Tell us your favorite story or a strategy for teaching a child about art.

Andrea: My strategy is connection and by connection, I mean I really like to engage with my students. I’d miss out on lunch with other teachers hanging with my kids watching YouTube videos. The goal is to break down barriers and be as real as possible. People may say they can’t care but I really do. That’s what art has taught me – you have to care, you have to connect. Art is a form of connection.

My favorite quote has guided me through teaching. It was by Paulo Frieire, “Accept the child where the child is at.” I think that’s really important when connecting, because not every person that comes in contact with you as a nanny is at the same level. You can have a four-year-old that’s is literate and painting masterpieces. Or you can have a 5-year-old who doesn’t know how to communicate verbally and needs the arts to connect with you.

Andrea Sammons Artwork 01

My favorite story is about Lindsay, who I follow on Instagram and Snapchat. She’s going to be a senior this year which is mind-blowing because I taught her in the 7th grade. When she came into the classroom, she hated me, and she hated art. And, she’ll tell you, she was something. We slowly started to break down the wall and finally, we got to a project. I said that I didn’t care what she did for a picture, but I wanted her to care about it and to love. She said she had to draw her cat. I connected with her and we have to have cats in her artwork. More specifically, her cat Emory. I found out she named her cat after Emory Hospital. She had a loved one at the hospital and named the cat after the experience. It’s her way of finding a golden lining (not silver, he’s a golden cat) to get through life. The cat is her best friend and a model who takes great pictures. It brought life into her art that I had never seen before. That’s why I constantly go back to accepting the child where the child is and use that to make a connection.

Elizabeth: The stories you’ve shared have affected me and how I raise my son, especially understanding the child for where they are at. My son is young, and you taught me to slow down and to care about what he cares about. When he was drawing that stick house with crayons, I got on his level and had him explain and talk about his art, sharing with me what he was thinking. I never guessed what it was, I just listened to him tell the story. I never would have known to do that as a parent without you teaching me.

Have you ever had an art disaster?

Andrea: For the senior showcase, I did clay figures – four figurines paired with four objects. One of the objects was a giant teapot – about 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide with about 300 cups of tea. It’s huge. I picked teapots because in an earlier course, I only made 8 small teapots in the span of a semester and needed 20. I learned the teapot is an extremely hard form and I felt it was the biggest challenge I needed to overcome.

Andrea Sammons Artwork 02For my showcase, I ended up making 2 of these giant teapots. One Saturday, 3 months after starting the project and with over 120 pounds of clay, smoothed into the form, I walked in and saw the whole teapot had peeled away from the base. So instead of a beautiful round piece, I had a four-foot-long slab of clay laying on a table. This was 3 months of my work with only a month left until my showcase, which determines if I graduate.

I literally threw it off the table, left for a while, then later that day, I started again. I finished the project in 2 weeks instead of 2-3 months, but I learned from my professor that I attached it too soon. It was too much too soon. I learned a lot from this failure. I learned how to dry it quicker and the steps. Although I lost months of work and freaked out, I learned a lot. It taught me how to slow down and focus even as I worked quickly. I was paying attention to my steps – how I was connecting, when I was connecting, that way I wouldn’t lose it again. It survived the second time, whoo!

Andrea Sammons Artwork 03

How can you use household items or very low-cost items creatively when playing with kids?

Andrea: I’m going to quickly covers stains, every shirt I own has stains. I get paint everywhere; my husband will tell you that I get clay everywhere. To prepare for kids to paint or do art, you can prepare. The best advice is to have newspaper, plastic wrap everywhere you are going to be – preferably outside. Not just a little space, but the big space around them. It’s why we use giant tables that can be easily washed. Try to keep it there and not on the floors or the ceiling.

If you get stains in fabric, use COLD water. I learned the hard way, don’t use warm water. And don’t scrub but dab lightly. From experience, you can save a few things, but not everything.

For cheap supplies, look at junk emails and get emails from everyone. There will be times Hobby Lobby has a great sale on construction paper. You can use construction paper for sculptures, paper mache, you can do anything with it. By getting all the email, you get the information without having to go to the store to see it.

We also did reclaimed projects – we literally used junk and trash. You can look them up on Pinterest. We used old toilet paper roll, pine needles, pine cones, rice, beans – anything. They took an old painting or artwork and re-created it with the items. They had to color match and find things that looked similar or could be manipulated to look like the other artwork. It’s easier than you think to find cheap stuff, you have to look and save stuff.

Since anyone can do art and it’s so easy, why do we need a class and a focus on art?

Andrea: I’m really passionate about this and some of my kids ask me why we need an art class. I feel it’s important to have a class or time set aside to work together and to look at other art. Not just do the art that’s in our head, as there is a lot of art in the world. We see art, we take it in, but we don’t necessarily know it. It’s good to have time to look at things you might not normally look at to have a greater appreciation and learn how to reflect and respond to what’s going on around you. I think it helps you learn more about the meaning of your life and everyone else life because you are seeing everything and bringing it together. You can communicate art with others but at the same time, you don’t have to.

I love art and I think without it, we’ll see a lot of suffering in our youth and younger children. Not everyone knows how to express themselves and art allows you to express yourself in any way, shape, or form. In learning art, you also learn how to manage things that are going on in your life.

Thank you so much for teaching our Children and the Art class as well as for doing your first Facebook live leap with us! I’m sure we’ll have you again, thank you!

To learn more, a Children and the Art course is available with enrollment in the Advanced Childcare program.

Nannypalooza Chats with Elizabeth Malson, President of Amslee Institute

Sue Downey, owner of Nannypolooza welcomes Amslee Institute, a new training organization for Nannies and Sitters

Sue Downey, owner of Nannypolooza welcomes Amslee Institute, a new training organization for Nannies and Sitters. Amslee Institute is a silver sponsor of the 2018 Nannypalooza East Conference in Philadelphia on November 2-4.

Sue: Are we introducing you and Amslee Institute to the nanny community? It’s a whoo-hoo moment, right?

Elizabeth: Yes, it is our big reveal! Amslee Institute worked with the Department of Education and is licensed by the Commission for Education. One of the requirements is that you aren’t allowed to talk about anything until you get your license. We got the license at the end of January, so all of our faculty and nanny partners had to keep everything secret and then all of a sudden, we popped up. We’ve been working behind the scenes and are now excited to learn more from the nanny community. Thank you so much for welcoming us and giving us an opportunity to meet people

Sue: We are thrilled to have you and are always happy to have support from people who believe in quality care. I know that you care because you are in the training business and professional development is important for nannies. It’s not just for people getting started but I know you can share resources for those getting started, but also for continuing education, which is what Nannypalooza is all about.

Amslee Institute is licensed in Florida, but you provide training all across the US, right?

Elizabeth: Yes, think about it like Penn State or Pennsylvania University as we are a technical trade school. People asked who you get the diploma through and the answer is us [Amslee Institute]. We went through all the rigor to be an official college level program with faculty, diplomas, and student support services. We are based in Florida, but our programs are available nationwide and are recognized nationwide. That’s one of the things that different about what we are trying to do.

Sue: Excellent! When I heard about Amslee, I did check it out because it really did pop up out of nowhere. We talk a lot about training and there aren’t a lot of credentialed programs so this is a nice opportunity for nannies.

Amslee has modules or levels of training, can you share a little bit about that?

Elizabeth: Absolutely, so the way the programs were build, it’s like doing your freshman year, sophomore year then junior and senior year. In this case though, we have 5 different levels that starts with the Basic Childcare Diploma and Certification. The Basic program has 10 hours of classes taught by faculty experts and it focuses on understanding children and child safety. The Basic program comes with job support on how to write a resume and how to job search and interview. But what’s unique about Amslee programs, is that it’s not just about classes, quizzes, and proficiency exams. We have all of that but there are other requirements. In order to graduate, you must have First Aid and CPR, a high school diploma, and a least one reference for the Basic level.

The faculty for the higher-level programs build on the course from the lower levels. The second level is called Intermediate and focuses on part-time nannies. The Intermediate level covers all the age appropriate stuff. So we have a big class on newborns and infants, we have a class dedicated just to toddlers, then preschoolers through all the age appropriate levels. At this point, you have to have childcare experience, which has to be paid childcare experience for someone who is not a family member. The third level focused on full-time nannies requiring more experiences, references, classes, and proficiency exams. We have level four and level five requires 50 hours of training, pass 5 exams, have 2 years of documented work experience, and 5 references. So, it’s not just classes with certification, it’s truly a curriculum designed with 5 levels to really elevate the nanny profession, defining what it means to be a Sitter or a Nanny.

Sue: You can take the programs all continuous or you can take the first one and wait awhile, then take the next one. You can do it at your own pace, right?

Elizabeth: Absolutely and we built it that way for that reason. If you are already an experience nanny with 2 years of experience and you want to bump up your knowledge, can learn from our child psychologist or our nutritionist or physician assistant. You can enroll in all 5 levels at one time and save some money as you only pay one enrollment fee. If you aren’t quite there yet, either financially or you don’t have the time to commit or the work experience required, you can break it up into each individual level. You can complete them at your pace over 6 months or years, whatever works best for you. Our programs are 100% online from enrollment through completion, you can do them anywhere and at your pace.

Sue: That’s awesome! One thing you mentioned were your professors. I was really impressed to see who teaches the classes. There are a lot of people with advanced degrees, these aren’t just the mom down the street teaching these classes or even other nannies.

These are college professors, right?

Elizabeth: Absolutely, and this is one of the differences with a licensed technical trade school. Our faculty members have rigorous requirements with a minimum of a master’s degree and a lot of them have PhD’s and other training. Of our faculty members, 9 of them were nannies at some point in their career and they have to have 5 years of experience. So, when you take the Children and the Law class, it’s taught by a lawyer. When you take the Understanding Children class, it’s taught by a child psychologist who works with children every day. The Nutrition classes are by a licensed dietician who’s worked in school or childcare environments. That’s one of the things that was challenging about getting licensing but also one of the reasons we wanted to do it. We wanted faculty as the backbone of the programs.

Sue: Another thing that was impressive to me is that Amslee is a Nanny school. After students graduate, there is support there as well, right?

Elizabeth: Yes, we have partnered with nanny agencies and industry organizations as well as invite families and students to share their information, so we can match them up for job services. As much as possible, we are in the industry not only to help people get the training and education but also to have the support they need to find that next job. Students are motivated to learn the skills to qualify for a premium job or have experience and want a tool to ask for a higher salary. We work with them one-on-one through coaching to help them achieve those goals.

All online colleges are required to provide student support. Amslee meets all these requirements including meeting with faculty through Skype and calls and student chat boards. We really want engagement, so we learn what’s working really well and what we can do to make it even better.

Sue: I’m not sure of this answer – how are you accredited?

Elizabeth: So, there are a lot of accreditation agencies out there and it’s very confusing. You can go online and purchase an accreditation and the Department of Education has been trying to minimize that practice. If you have an accreditation not approved by the Department of Education, you are supposed to put a disclaimer that says it’s not an approved accreditation body.

Amslee is so new, we are still going through the accreditation process. We are doing it correctly, but it’s going to take some time. Our accreditation body is approved by the Department of Education. I’ll be perfectly honest, it’s a 3-year process. We re in it and we are committed but we are officially licensed and in the accreditation review process.

Sue: So, you are licensed in Florida and in the accreditation process?

Elizabeth: Correct. As an organization, we decided to stay true to who we are and go through the accreditation process in the right but longer, harder way than get an accreditation and have to put an asterisk next to it that says it’s not an approved accreditation body.

Sue: You are attending Nannypalooza East and are teaching a class on Stress Management. We are very excited to offer this class. Self care is so important and a bit topic for nannies because I think we are busy taking care of everyone. We are not always good at taking care of ourselves and managing our stress. Thank you for being willing to come and share with us, I’m excited.

Elizabeth: I’m excited and thank you for the opportunity! I’m going to be perfectly honest and transparent, Dr. Lauren Formy-Duval is a child psychologist and she is the author of the Stress Management class. I am absolutely, and with her permission, going to hijack some of her content and some of that is what I’ll be sharing when I see you in November.

Sue: That’s awesome, we like hijackers. It’s so much fun, everyone from your staff is going to want to come, then they will all be coming. You have no idea how much fun these are. You are in for a fun time.

Sue: Is there anything else to share about Amslee? It sounds amazing! If people want more information on pricing or how it works, they can go to the website right?

Elizabeth: Yes, everything is on We are building a frequently asked question document that’s also on there. Every time we get questions, we try to put it up there to be completely open and transparent.

I want to share one thing we are trying to do to contribute to the community and get some engagement. Every Tuesday, one of our faculty members writes and shares an article. We are trying to create content and tools that are valuable. So, if any of you cruise through the classes or something has come up and you’d like to ask a faculty member to have them write an article, follow us on Facebook or let me know. They are at our community’s disposal and we want to share what’s important to you.

Sue: Here’s a great question I didn’t even think of. Are the credits transferable for graduate school or higher learning?

Elizabeth: Right now, the answer is sadly, no but it is in our 3-year plan. We are walking the walk to be here, a part of the community. First, we got licensed and got the programs out there, then accredited. When accredited, the classes may be transferred to other post-secondary schools [depending on the other schools’ transfer requirements].

If you look at the curriculum, we did have some CDA (Child development) teachers and some early childhood education faculty members input. Several of our classes are a little aside for nannies, such as our classroom management class or learning environment class. These classes were specifically added because, in the future, these classes may transfer as towards a CDA program or an early childhood education degree. We built the program thinking how to build on what’s out there and be an affordable trade school. We also want to help those going into other colleges, as well.

Sue: I’m excited that you have not only done all the work to be licensed and getting these amazing classes but how you are also going the next step. You have a plan which is good news for us as I like companies in it for the long haul. I like that you are thinking how to make it more flexible for nannies and that’s great. Thank you.

Elizabeth. I really think there is a group of us who love nannies, love what they are doing, and want to contribute to making it even more of a respected industry. We want to fill the gap between the Red Cross class for ages 11 to 15 and an investment in a four-year degree that’s a longer time and financial commitment. We want to be that sandwich in between.

Sue: Excellent! I’m preaching to the choir, but I’ll say it again. There is no such thing as wasted training or education. Everybody learns in a different way to achieve your three year or five year plan. I’m excited to bring you into our community.

Sue: Now! This is what everyone is going to be excited about. I have a vision as I had this moment. This year, we are having two conferences – one on the east coast and one on the west coast. Now, I don’t’ know if you are a fan of hard core rap, like me, but I have lots of street cred. I was thinking east side, west side and trying to make that work into a theme. Tupac was a genius, beyond music, because he has this quote that has completely inspired me this year. He’s quote says, “I’m not saying I’m going to change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.” What a great quote is that!

Elizabeth: That is magical!

Sue: It’s a little bit more as he talks about how it’s our job to spark in somebody else that’s watching us. While we might not be the ones to clean up the mess the world is in right now, we are the ones responsible for sparking somebody else. We are the inspiration. Now, I can’t think of a better quote for what I try to do everyday of my life! We are going to talk about the spark and how we are the spark. One thing that has resonated with me in the past few years, as a lot of nannies know, is that nannies are feeling dissatisfied and upset. No matter where you are on the politics, no one seems happy as everyone seems upset all the time about where the world is. I know that nannies take care of future leaders of this country and so we have the ability to spark the brain that could change this world. So, we have to be at our best.

Elizabeth: The spark is wonderful! It works on so many levels, right? We can be the spark for each other. We can be the spark for the families in our lives. We can be the spark for the children we get to work with every day. We could be the spark in simple ways or even grand ways, but we could do it together. I think it’s beautiful! I’m excited to see the schedule of all the events happening on the west and east coast. I’ve heard so many amazing things from all the people I’ve met on what great work you guys do, how much you put into it, and I know there’s a lot of people who really appreciate it.

Sue: Thank you! Sponsors like you are what make it possible. Thank you Amslee! Every Nanny watching, right now, go to @Amslee Institute on Facebook and like their page, maybe leave a message thanking them. I’m going to be sharing some their content and, but you should connect with them and thank them. Check out their webpage at for more information and pricing. Liz is very available for questions and we’ll have Liz visit again, I’m sure. We’re excited and now you know the theme so let’s share ideas on how to make it more fun. Registration is still open and thanks again Liz. Have a good night!

Elizabeth: Thank you so much, it was a such a pleasure. Have a great evening everyone!


NannypaloozaAbout Nannypalooza. Nannypalooza helps unite nannies and empower them, no matter if they are a nanny for a year or for a lifetime, providing resources, support, and information. Nannypalooza hosts an annual conference focused on bringing high quality training to nannies at an affordable cost.

Biggest Surprises for Families Getting Their First Nanny – Amslee Institute Chats with Heather, Co-Founder of Nicole’s Nannies Agency

Heather Pentz, Co-Founder of Nicole’s Nannies Agency shares Nanny Career Recommendations

As a new training organization licensed by the Florida Commission of Education, No. 5951, Amslee Institute is introducing our faculty and strategic partners to the Childcare community. Our second Facebook live guest is Heather, Co-Founder of Nicole’s Nannies Agency in Madison, New Jersey.

Nicole’s Nannies was founded by two former nannies who have over twenty-five years of experience between them. Nicole’s Nannies has a detailed screening process that is in line with INA (International Nanny Association) and APNA (Association of Premier Nanny Agencies) standards, so they work with only the most qualified nannies to ensure the best fit for a family.

What is the biggest surprise when families work with their first nanny?

Heather: There are a ton of surprises as a lot of families first view nannies as babysitters and we help distinguish nannies. Our nannies are qualified and a lot of them have education, they are CPR and First Aid certified, and they love taking courses to further their education. Nannies don’t just watch your children, they help raise your children with you. That surprises families a lot.

How do nannies talk with families as they get comfortable in the position and realize it’s evolved into more responsibility?

Heather: It’s very hard and an awkward conversation talking money with employers, especially when you work in their home. That’s why we like to do contracts, so they can outline every duty – distinguishing doing the children’s laundry but not the families. We add a clause that says if anything were to be added, then additional compensation needs to be included.

What kind of things do you look for in a family to understand who might be a good fit for them?

Heather: We think of ourselves as matchmakers because a nanny is coming into your home and you will see them every day. The children will look up to the nanny, picking up their mannerisms. So, we like to find out the personalities of the families down to what they do on the weekends with their kids. We want to understand what they are looking for in a nanny, what skills they need, and what they expect from a nanny. We love to hear they are expecting the nanny to become like family to them because that, to us, means they’ll be great employers. We do the same for the nanny – we learn their personality and hobbies. If we have a family that is sporty, we match them with a sporty nanny. Same for a family that’s shy, as we’d look for a more quiet and reserved nanny instead of a loud, bubbly nanny.

What types of experiences do you look for in an overnight nanny versus a full time or temporary nanny?

Heather: Our part-time nannies are for older children, so we look for more experience with older children and doing homework. For full-time nannies, we look for skills to run a house because nannies do a lot – laundry, errands, groceries. For night and baby nurses, we look for training including childcare certified and First Aid with CPR. They should have completed baby classes and have work experience.

What advice do you have for those early in their nanny career but have some experience watching their siblings or have cared for their own children?

Heather: I know it’s really hard to start out as a nanny because you have to have two years of experience but how do you get the two years of paid experience? I recommend they start with a part-time nanny position and stay with that family for at least a year. Watching your siblings is great but that is not the same as caring for some else’s child in their home. Every parent has a different style and you need that experience.

What is unique about the nanny job and surprises those new to the work even when they have experience as a camp counselor or working in a daycare?

Heather: Nannies are often surprised they are doing more than just watching the kids. Nannies can help with dishes and other light housekeeping They can be Mary Poppins and help with everything as professional nannies enjoy running a household.

What are the distinctions between Household Manager, Family Assistant, and Nanny?

Heather: We share with families that nannies will do light housekeeping and that means picking up after the children, not picking up after mom and dad. If the family wants a household manager to help the parents, like scheduling doctor appointments, then it’s two jobs so nannies should be compensated for the additional services provided. We try to distinguish it but it’s hard and gets blended a lot.

What items are standard in a compensation package for a career nanny?

Heather: Our standard contracts have 2 weeks of paid vacation, 1 week of paid sick time, and at least 7 paid national holidays. Every family is different, so some nannies are hourly while others receive a salary. Our families rarely pay dental or health insurance, but a lot of families will add a monthly amount, like $40 a month, to help compensate for these expenses.

Has there been an increase in families with different needs such as medical or behaviors that nannies should learn more about?

Heather: We’ve noticed with our school-age, part-time positions that families are requesting caregivers who are aware of autism, ADHD, food allergies, and special needs. It’s a bigger range and nannies can be very skilled. We see a lot of autism and nannies can get specific training for autism.

Are you seeing any trends that will impact nannies or families in the next 5 years or so?

Heather: With Amslee’s school and classes, that’s amazing to us. We go in the business to help change how nannies are seen. We see nannies investing in the certification, taking the classes, and gathering to discuss childcare. I think in the next five years, nannies will be looked more as careers and not just babysitters. Nannies are respected as educated women who know what they are doing, similar to a teacher as there are these new certifications.

Elizabeth: That’s great and it’s one of the reasons Amslee Institute has a partnership with Nicole’s Nannies as it’s our core as well. We want to provide college level faculty taught classes in a community college or trade school manner, offering diplomas to increase the professional opportunities from an established career path. Diplomas help students go from babysitting to a career nanny and maybe even to a teaching career later on.

Thank you so much, Heather, for this Facebook live session!

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