So You Wanna Be An Early Childhood Educator
by StudyMalaysia.com on July 29, 2015 | Top Stories
Are you enthusiastic, energetic and outgoing? Would you like to help young children reach their full learning potential in an early childhood education setting? If you are open to new ideas, have a sense of humour, have tons of patience, and of course, love working with kids, this could be an extremely rewarding career for you.
The job of an early childhood educator
Early childhood educators encourage young children – six years old and below – to learn through the form of play and experience. They help young children to achieve their early learning goals by using a variety of activities that are appropriate for the development stage of each child.
The task of teaching and nurturing young children involves caring for their social, emotional, physical and educational needs, while providing a secure environment for them to learn. Besides creating lesson plans and developing teaching resources, early childhood educators are also responsible for enforcing rules for behaviour and maintaining structured daily routines such as meal times, washing hands and going to the toilet.
Observing and assessing each child’s performance and against specific milestones is another task of early childhood educators. They would need to communicate these observations to the children’s parents on a regular basis and work with the parents to address any issues regarding the children’s development.
Is this job for you?
If you enjoy working with young children and you have a passion for teaching as well as nurturing them, you are certainly on the right path to a career in early childhood education. Having an interest in child development is also a key factor in joining the early childhood teaching profession. Read on to find out if you have other skills and interests which are suited for the job.
The interest code for this career is SA (Social and Artistic).
Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.
Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
To be successful in the role of an early childhood educator, the following work styles are essential:
- Able to work well with others on the job, possesses a pleasant and cooperative attitude
- Shows concern for others by being understanding to their needs and feelings
- Displays leadership skills such as being able to take charge and to give clear instructions to others
- Open to changes in the workplace and adapting to them
- Able to maintain self-control while dealing with highly stressful situations
- Stays persistent while facing challenges at work
Relationship is an important work value for early childhood educators, as they find great satisfaction in providing service to others. They also value a friendly work environment which fosters teamwork among colleagues. Being results oriented, early childhood educators gain a sense of achievement when they see positive changes in the children’s development and behaviour. They also appreciate a work environment that allows them to work independently, and to make their own decisions.
Generally, early childhood educators work in preschools, nurseries and kindergartens. However, their work environment depends largely on the type of preschool centres at which they are employed and the age group of the children they are assigned to teach. Hence, they can expect to work in a variety of settings – both indoors and outdoors. Aside from their regular teaching hours, they would need to put in extra hours for planning teaching activities, meetings and school events. It is inevitable for early childhood educators to spend long hours on their feet.
Places of Employment
While many early childhood educators seek employment in preschools, nurseries and kindergartens, others work in childcare centres and child development centres. Some also opt to work for private residences as a professional nanny.
Job Entry Requirement
The minimum requirement to become an early childhood educator is a diploma in early childhood education. Subsequently, one can pursue undergraduate studies and postgraduate studies in early childhood education.
As teaching young children is a highly specialised field, having a Bachelor’s degree in early childhood education would help to improve your abilities, job prospects and opportunities for career advancement.
Education and Training Qualifications:
- Diploma in Early Childhood Education
- Bachelor in Early Childhood Education (Hons)
- Master of Education (Early Childhood Education) (Master)
In this video, an early childhood educator talks about her job, the roles and responsibilities, as well as the joys of working with children.
Check out this video for some tips on what makes a good preschool teacher and what to expect on the job.
Sources used in this article:
- Prospects - Early Years Teacher
- My Next Move - Preschool Teachers
- Bureau Of Labor Statistics - Occupational Outlook Handbook
- Teach.com - Early Childhood Education