What does an early childhood educator do?
If you work in early childhood education, you may look after and teach infants, toddlers, preschool children and/or work with after school day care. Depending on the qualifications you get, your responsibilities will vary.
Most ECEs work with children between the ages of 1 and 5. Others work in after school programs that take children up to 12 years old.
What kinds of activities might I do all day?
- create schedules and routines for children and implement them
- create, research and direct learning games and activities
- administer first aid and respond to emergencies
- help children learn with arts, crafts and music
- communicate with parents about their children’s development
- work full days that may start early and work in a job site that is demanding and hectic
What kinds of places will employ me if I am an early childhood educator?
- individual families
- nursery schools
- a daycare
- community centers
- recreational facilities
- your own daycare or preschool
What kind of early childhood education training will I receive?
Training will vary, depending on the level of education you seek (see below) and where you live. Topics taught will cover:
- general early childhood education
- early learning areas
- child development studies
- social and emotional development
- play and creativity
- art, music, crafts and movement activities
- child care management
- food and nutrition
- health and safety
- special needs
- behaving professionally
What qualities do I need to work with young children?
- have a relaxed and flexible personality
- enjoy working with children
- desire to improve communication skills
- knowledge of first aid and CPR
- a clean criminal record
- pay attention to details
- be able to plan ahead
- a good imagination
- early childhood education
What early childhood education career paths are available to me?
An Assistant Early Childhood Educator – may have volunteer experience working with children and is often working towards their degree or diploma. They assist fully qualified ECE instructors and may be assigned more of the cleaning and food preparation type tasks.
An Early Childhood Educator – has a degree or diploma in early childhood education and is responsible for planning yearly, monthly and weekly themes and daily activities, caring for and teaching the children, supervising assistants, chatting with parents.
Supervisors – have several years of experience and direct all the programs and activities of a daycare center; manage a group of ECE workers; do administrative work as well as deal with parents.
Directors – oversee more than one centers, may teach other ECE students, explain government policies and regulations to staff and families, establish and record workplace policies and work with the government for funding.
- see personal growth in children academically, socially and emotionally
- each day is different
- form attachments with children and parents
- developing an understanding of how children learn
- long and early hours
- lots of cleaning, toys, counters, children
- competition for senior positions
- parents/staff who treat children unfairly
- salaries can be low but job demands enormous amount of responsibility
Early Childhood Education Salaries
Somewhere between $20 – 45,000 a year depending on where you live and what type of degree or certification you get.