Spotlight Sunday: Danny

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Tell us about yourself!

I’ve been a professional nanny for thirteen years. Although I’ve always known that I wanted to be a nanny, I also wanted to gain experience working with children in many different capacities to help me foster the highest quality-learning environment for the children in my care. I started my journey in childcare working mostly with children severely impacted with Autism and other special needs. Growing up with a twin sister and younger brother with special needs, it was a world I’ve always been a part of and truly don’t ever want to leave. Since graduating high school in 2005, I’ve received a degree in Early Elementary Education as well as Early Childhood and Family Studies with a focus on child development and Autism. All while nannying at least part-time, I have also worked as an Applied Behavior Analyst Therapist for children on the Autism spectrum, within both self-contained and inclusive classrooms, and doing long term respite care. Although I think it was important for me to gain experience in these capacities, I always enjoyed the work that I was doing as a nanny the most. I also have a strong passion for traveling and photography. In the last three years I’ve mainly been working as a travel nanny for High Profile families, which enables me to combine my passion for travel, working with children and photography! When I’m not working you can find me entertaining my Boarder Collie and Pit Mix, hiking through a forest, walking along a beach or hitting the road on another adventure!

What led you to becoming a nanny?

I grew up with a sister ten years older than my twin and myself, who had her first baby when I was eight and another every two years after that until I was sixteen. I was surrounded by babies most of my childhood and often cared for them. I knew the moment my nephew was placed in my arms that caring for babies in some capacity was exactly what I was meant to do in this world. Whenever I had a baby in my arms, I felt calm and grounded no matter what was going on around me. The first moment I had a conscious thought that being a nanny was what I wanted to do was when I was eleven and thought that I wanted to be Angelina Jolie’s nanny. She didn’t have any kids at the time, but I sure did have myself a crush. 

Describe yourself as a nanny in 5 words.

Adventurous, intuitive, passionate, warm, nurturing.

Describe your nannying approach. What is your childcare philosophy?

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After spending some time in Reggio Emilia, Italy studying the Reggio Approach to Education, I noticed a great shift happen in my childcare philosophy. The Reggio approach implements beliefs that can be applied within a classroom setting, but also the home as well and any other environment children embody. From my studies, I quickly shifted to the philosophy that children are capable of constructing their own learning, that they form an understanding of themselves and environment around them based on their social interactions, learn from their environment and that as adults and in my case, their nanny, it’s my job to observe them, listen to what they question and talk about, and then provide opportunities for them to further develop their interests. Children learn through a variety of mediums in many different ways. As a nanny, I work as an extended parent in helping children find and fuel those mediums. I also put a great deal of focus on social and emotional development supported with positive reinforcement.

What do you enjoy most about being a nanny?

The thing that I enjoy most about being a nanny is that I get to see the world through the unfiltered lens of a child. Children have a very pure and simple way of looking at things and experiencing the world around them. When I’m able to set aside my own life experiences and see the world from their view, everything gets so much more bright and beautiful. As a travel nanny, I find experiencing different cultures, most of them new to me, with children to be the most rewarding.

What part of nannying do you find the most challenging?

The most difficult part of being a nanny is always when it comes time to say goodbye and move on. As a nanny, I fully participate in helping to raise and shape the kids that I work with. I grow and learn alongside of them while often loving them with a great deal of my heart. Most often, I work with families on a long-term basis and continue to maintain relationships after parting ways with a family and although this helps, it is still enough of a shift in the relationship that grief is present. One of my most challenging experiences as a nanny was when I had to abruptly leave a position for reasons I’m legally unable to speak about. After working with this family and caring for their children, most often around the clock while traveling two-three weeks a month for a year, I resigned on short notice and said goodbye to the children for what I believed to be forever. The moments I spent rocking them to sleep my last evening was one of the hardest moments I’ve had as a nanny thus far.

What advice would you give to someone just beginning his or her nanny career?

The most important piece of advice that I would give a new nanny beginning their career is to always follow their heart. When we are following our heart, we are most passionate about life and that passion fuels our ability to do the best job possible. For me, this means that although being a nanny is my passion, that passion can fluctuate based on how happy I am with the families I choose to work with. When someone buys a car they shop around to find the best fit, or when choosing a doctor or therapist many people tend to find the ones that feel like the best match for who they are and where they are in life. I find this process to be the same when interviewing with nanny families. Families get to choose their nanny just as much as nannies get to choose their families and not all fits are the perfect match. Over the years I’ve found that when I don’t necessarily fit with a family, it doesn’t mean that either one of us is bad or doing something wrong, it just means we are not the best possible fit and I prefer to move on and find the family that is, allowing me to do the best job I’m capable of.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

Honestly, I don’t have a typical day at work! Every day is different, especially while we are traveling, which I love. What I do spend a lot of time doing is packing for trips, unpacking from trip, boarding flights all in one piece, creating educational activities and collecting information based on whatever part of the world we are traveling to, monitoring school work, climbing trees, exploring new places and cultures, enforcing self-care (for both me and my nanny kids) and helping to foster what is the most important life lesson in my opinion, self-love.

What is your go-to nanny outfit?

My go-to nanny outfit is a pair of denim or khaki pants with a button down or polo! As a manny, I always try to dress to impress.  

How do you wind down after a long day on the job?

My go to wind down activity after a long day on the job is a nice long walk with my dogs. I love walking them in the middle of nowhere under the stars or along the water. Then I tend to follow that up with a nice bath or shower in the candlelight with some relaxing tunes on. I’ve always had a thing for candles and the lighting they provide, so I tend to spend a lot of my off time guided by the candlelight.

Any childcare books, websites, or resources you recommend?

My go to nanny resources/website is always International Nanny Association!

The gals behind Not Quite Mary Poppins are always looking to grow our bookshelves. What are your favorite children’s books?

What Do You Do With an Idea? By Kobi Yamada; Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day By Judith Viorst; My Princess Boy By Cheryl Kilodavis; Meet Polkadot By Talcott Broadhead; And Tango Makes Three By Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell; Good Dog Carl By Alexandra Day


Disclaimer: Not Quite Mary Poppins obtains legal permission from a parent or guardian though a signed media release form for any photos that display children’s faces. All identifiable photos are posted with express permission.

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