Author: Sherri Peck

A career working with young children

Deciding to make a career in early childhood education is a choice for many people. Firstly and most importantly, the first question you should ask yourself is this: “Would I like to work with children?”

If the answer to this is yes, then a career in childhood education is for you. This type of career requires a lot of patience, sensitivity and appreciating different personalities and abilities that you will come across. With children’s energy so high a lot of the time, keeping up with them can be taxing on the body and mind but if you are up to it, the challenge can be very rewarding.

 kids hands prints in paint

The difference between young children and adolescents

You need to be conscious of young people’s needs, as they are unique. It’s so important in understanding that you are quite possibly the first adult that the young child interacts with beyond their own family home. In the beginning, the separation from the child’s parents is often difficult to overcome. Teachers should help children through the transition. Because of this, children may become attached to you as you are substituting either or both parents. On the other hand, a child may shy away from you completely.

The great teachers among us, easily adapt to their students reactions. In addition, when your students interact with each other, it can often be the first of many interactions with people of a similar age. With this in mind, the teacher takes on the role of a mediator between children who may present problems in learning how to get along, for example in sharing their crayons with others.

Beyond the foundations

Beyond the basic foundations above, teachers should be adaptive and creative to their students individually and as a group. They must learn to see the world through children’s eyes. This empathy is required so the teacher can walk in the shoes of their students in order to deal with situations better.

For example, early on in your childhood education career, learning the motivations of very young children are cruelly important. Or another example would be in knowing how to hold a child’s attention and interest. Making learning fun is part of what helps children in the early years and it also helps teachers through those tough days!

These are some of the things to think about before delving into a career in early childhood education.

Classrooms

Classroom lessons can be very hands-on indeed. With storytelling, arts & crafts, physical education, fun learning games and technology, you should be quick on your feet in adapting to new ways in helping children through their journey of learning.

The next step?

The Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s Degree is a good starting point. After graduating, you should research your county or state’s teaching qualifications and standards as these may vary from place to place. This is essential in earning your official reputable teaching credentials.

There are a number of different areas of further study in early childhood education. In America, The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education provides a national certification. In order to teach in a Montessori school, there is a specific Montessori teacher education program necessary to complete. Upon certification, the next and most important step is to start building your career in the trenches – through real classroom experience.

It is common for a lot of preschool and Montessori teachers to start their careers as teaching assistants in order to get the practical experience in classrooms, prior to going on to do teacher training. Of course with competition high and with the attractive qualities of this career, having a Masters in Eduction and/or additional qualifications relevant to the type of teaching position you are applying for will certainly help you stand out from the crowd.

Technology and learning in the early years

Technology is all around us today and even in our youngest children’s lives. In recent times, many discussions and debates have made their way around the world around the challenge that parents face when they inevitably have to introduce and manage technology with their own children at home.

tech and learning

Did you know?

As high as 40% of families with children under eight years old own some kind of tablet or device!

This insight gives rise to the following question

What role does technology play in early childhood environments?          

As we move forward as a technology steeped society, on the positive side many teachers believe that technology does have a place in early childhood environments. While many educators have never received the necessary training for using technology in a structured effective way or feel confident in their abilities with technology, the trend suggests that there’s a big opportunity for teachers to up-skill and the need for a framework to equip educators with the basics and competencies to carry out effective education, in a fun, new age way.

However, although teachers believe in the value and benefits of technology in learning, there tends to be a lack of technology on the curriculum. So I believe that, technology as a subject and also as a tool that children can use in their formative years should be part of their learning in order to best equip them for today’s world. Besides that, many secondary schools and all universities and colleges use the latest in computer hardware and software so there’s no better time to give children a head start equipping them academically with a skill to take with them later in school and indeed in life.

The caveats

  • Screen viewing time that children have with devices and what this means for them in early childhood environments
  • Potential adverse effects of technology on the reading habits of children
  • The correlation between obesity in children and using technology
  • The relationship between technology and playing

Conclusion

From what I can see, one thing is for sure – that technology is here for the long haul and teachers’ challenge lies in better understanding how it can be embraced in supporting children’s development and learning. Teachers are open to technology assisted learning but more emphasis should be placed on supporting it financially and on the training of teachers in how to use technology for teaching.

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teacher and students

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jizsaw

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