What does it mean to be a childcare educator? This is a question people ask themselves as they prepare for a career in the childcare industry. It is an important question and one that deserves careful consideration.
Many things go into being a great childcare educator, and it takes more than just enjoying the company of children. In this blog post, we will discuss the role of the childcare educator and what it takes to succeed in this challenging but very rewarding field!
Childcare educators play a vital role in the lives of children and families. They are responsible for providing safe, nurturing, and stimulating environments for children to grow and learn. They also work closely with families to support their child's development and ensure that they are meeting their individual needs.
To be a successful childcare educator, it is important to deeply understand child development. This includes knowledge of how children learn, what motivates them, and how to create an environment that meets their individual needs. It is also important to be patient, flexible, and creative. Childcare educators must be able to adapt their teaching methods to meet the unique needs of each child they work with.
Being a successful childcare educator requires patience, creativity, flexibility, and knowledge of child development. It is also important to be able to adapt teaching methods to meet the needs of each individual child.
Victoria Edmond - Founding DirectorRainbow Bridge Family Daycare
"Working with children is a privilege, one that I do not take lightly. It is important to me that I allow the children to unfurl in their own time. Never forcing but rather supporting. I know each child has a gift to share and helping them to learn resilience through self-help skills and emotional awareness through connected relationships is important to me. Teaching in the smaller numbers of Family Day Care is perfect for allowing our day to roll out slowly, giving the children the chance to settle into their day in their own time.
The bonds that we create when we move through the day with purpose are rich and rewarding. Creating a consistent environment means the children feel safe in knowing what is coming, reducing anxiety they may feel by being away from home. Shared meals are another way we gather as a small community, bringing closeness and joy to our group. I love having more one-on-one time for the children in the Family Day Care environment, as this means better outcomes for the children across the board. The fact that I am helping to shape the children who will be in charge when I am elderly spurs me on to provide excellence in care."
The last 15 years of Victoria’s life have been spent doing what she loves – working in early childhood education.
She has worked across multiple disciplines in before and after school care, long day care, and finally settling into family day care which led her to the path of starting Rainbow Bridge Family Day Care Service in 2013.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in childcare, it is important to research the different types of childcare programs and facilities that are available. Each one has its own unique set of requirements and expectations. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to childcare, so it is important to find an organization that is a good fit for your skills and interests.
One of the most important things to remember if you are considering a career in childcare is that the children are always the priority. Childcare educators have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of children and families. It is a demanding but rewarding profession!
There are many benefits to working in early childhood education and care, but with these advantages come great responsibilities. Here are some of the main duties of a childcare educator.
Tasks and duties of a childcare educator
- Preparing and delivering materials and learning opportunities for children, engaging them in developmentally appropriate activities.
- Observing and recording children’s interests, development and learning.
- Planning for and providing a safe, clean and stimulating environment.
- Working collaboratively with other educators to develop programs that meet each child's individual needs and implementation of educational programs..
- Building positive relationships with parents and guardians, keeping them informed about their child’s development and sharing advice on parenting.
- Working as part of a team to create a positive and stimulating environment for children.
- Maintaining accurate records and filing paperwork.
- Adhering to health and safety regulations.
- Maintaining a clean, safe and stimulating environment for children.
- Preparing nutritious meals and snacks for children.
- Undertaking administrative tasks such as record keeping and ordering supplies.
Elizabeth Michelle - Early Childhood TeacherTeaching Brave
"Being an early childhood teacher is important to me because I make a difference in the lives of children - our next generation. It helps me to learn more about myself, and it allows me to meet and connect with and learn from different individuals, families and cultural backgrounds. It also helps me keep up to date with teaching practices and pedagogy which I love learning about. I'm passionate about teaching and helping kids learn, and understand that the learning process can be fun"
Elizabeth is a single mum, early childhood teacher and child care director. Her blog has an array of resources on early childhood related content, her money journey from broke single mum to now thriving financially, and parenting tips.
Qualificationns and Prerequisites
In order to work as a childcare worker, there are a few prerequisites that depend on the country and location:
In Australia (source)
You must have either a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, Certificate IV in school-age education and care or a Diploma in early childhood education and care. A Working with a children background check. Proficiency in first aid training is highly recommended.
In New Zealand (source)
To become a qualified early childhood educator in New Zealand, you have to study at a university or polytechnic for three years if you haven't studied before. And if you have studied, you can do a one-year course to become qualified. You can also work in an early childhood centre as an unqualified teacher.
In the UK (source)
Level 2 Certificate in Childcare or a Level 3 Diploma in Early Years Education and Care - Early Years Educator or a T Level in Education and Childcare.
In Ireland (source)
To be approved to practise in the sector, an individual's studies must be of a standard at least at level 5 on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications NFQ (or equivalent) and must include the following content: Child development for children aged 0-6. Early childhood education - theory and practice.
In the USA (source)
In most circumstances, early childhood educators must have a bachelor's degree and a state teacher's license with an endorsement in early childhood education.
In Canada (source)
Completion of a two- to a four-year college program in early childhood education or A bachelor's degree in child development is required. Licensing by a provincial or territorial association for early childhood educators (ECE) is usually required.
Miss Sinead - Educational Leader, teacher, authorFood Is Cool
"Being an Early childhood teacher to me, means supporting children holistically during such a critical period in their development. In body, mind and spirit. All of this folds into a key area which I struggled to find accurate information in, nourishing bodies. I didn’t know where to begin in making the relationship with food positive, enjoyable, creative and fun!"
Sinead has over a decade's experience in education and is a passionate and experienced early childhood teacher, author, educational leader and professional development facilitator.
She has a strong background in educational leadership roles and puts an emphasis on communication and leading strong and compassionate teams.
Sinead brings a global perspective to education, having worked in New Zealand, Australia and Singapore, enhancing her understanding and importance of cultural diversity. Sinead is passionate about facilitating and providing professional developments to equip staff with the strategies, methodologies and language to help build not only a team culture, but a culture of mindfulness.
Some educators also choose to complete a Diploma or Bachelor's degree in early childhood education and care. These qualifications can provide you with the skills and knowledge to work in a range of childcare settings, including long daycare centres, family daycare homes, occasional care services and out-of-school-hours care programs.
These qualifications can provide you with the skills and knowledge to work in different types of childcare settings, including:
- Long daycare centres
- Family daycare homes
- Occasional care services
- Out-of-school-hours care programs.
Kirsty Norris - Early Childhood TeacherBeaudesert Early Years Centre
"Being an educator means that I get to support little people and their families to help their children learn, develop and grow. It gives me a sense of belonging as I have always enjoyed working with children and I feel like that it is something that I am good at.
I enjoy building relationships with children and their families and nurturing these to build positive outcomes for their children. It’s wonderful to see the way in which Early Childhood Education has changed over the years; there is so much advocacy and research happening around the early years a nd its importance. I am constantly learning and evolving."
The settings in which Childcare Educators may work include childcare centres, crèches, occasional care and family daycare.
Educators may also work in before and after-school care programs, vacation care programs and other community-based programs. Some Childcare Educators are self-employed and work in family day care or run their own small childcare businesses from their homes. Most Childcare Educators work part-time, although some may work full-time or variable hours, including early mornings, evenings and weekends. Many educators also work overtime on a regular basis.
Mary Strickland - Childcare EducatorFaith West Academy
"As a childcare educator working with young children, it’s a job of immense importance. Giving young minds the freedom and confidence to be themselves and grow both socially and academically is so crucial. The capacity to grow and overcome obstacles is so strong and that sense of wonder and eagerness to learn something new makes teaching younger children so rewarding. I also think you can learn a lot from young minds as they see the world so differently, you get to see how their views and experiences change as they develop.You’re helping to build the foundation for their academic learning while also letting them explore and figure out things on their own and I think that’s so special and quite unique to preschool teaching. "
How educators help children learn and thrive
Early childhood educators play a vital role in supporting the learning, development and well-being of children aged 0-8 years. They do this by providing opportunities for children to engage in experiences that help them make sense of their world and develop a love of learning.
Through positive relationships, educators can provide an emotionally safe environment where children feel valued and respected. This feeling of safety allows children to take risks, explore and try new things without fear of failure. It is through these experiences that children learn, grow and thrive.
Educators working with families can create a strong sense of community and support for all involved. This partnership approach helps ensure that every child has the best possible chance to reach their full potential.
Simone O'BrienTreasured Tots Early Education
"Being a child care educator is an opportunity to nurture and educate children in their most formative years. This is an absolute privilege."
Simone is a childcare educator who owns Treasured Tots Early Education, they have 4 childcare centres throughout Perth and will be opening their fifth one early next year.
Developing in all areas is crucial for any growing child, not just limited to literacy and numeracy skills. This means physical, emotional, cognitive, social, and communication domains must be developed as well. As an educator, it falls on you to make sure holistic development is taking place with the children you are entrusted with.
We believe that a child's environment plays an important role in their education and development. This is because a child learns through interacting with their surroundings. Therefore, it is important to provide resources and an environment that will support the holistic development of all children. It's crucial that a good environment is inclusive, which reflects all the children’s interests and ability levels while also challenging them to learn more.
It is crucial for childcare educators to Foster trustable relationships with the kids They are caring for. These types of bonds lay the foundations for their future development. There are various ways to establish a strong relationship with your children, such as playing with them, observing their needs, interests and abilities, having open discussions, and communicating with their families to learn more about their culture.
Amy Murphy - Early Childhood TeacherBeaudesert Early Years Centre
"As an educator, I am able to advocate and promote the education, care, and rights of children. In addition to giving children the opportunity to explore and make sense of the world, I ensure that they feel comfortable and secure in their learning environment. I feel it is our responsibility to equip them with the tools they need to be effective and engaged students throughout their school years and beyond.
The uniqueness of each child makes this job very rewarding, I enjoy watching the difference we can make in a child's life as educators, witnessing their growth in learning and development during their kindergarten year. In addition, it's really rewarding to witness the excitement on their faces when they understand something or try anything for the first time. Everything is so fascinating to kindergarteners, and we have the opportunity of experiencing it all over again through their eyes.
Skills and attributes of an early childhood educator
A range of skills and attributes are important for early childhood educators to possess. These include:
- A passion for working with children and families
- The ability to build positive relationships with children, families and colleagues
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- Good organisational and time management skills
- Strong organisation skills
- The ability to create a safe, warm and welcoming environment for all children
- Patience, resilience and empathy
- Good problem-solving skills
- Flexibility and adaptability.
- Creativity and imagination
- Knowledge of child development and early learning philosophies and practices.
- A sound understanding of health and safety regulations.
- The ability to work as part of a team.
If you are thinking about a career in childcare or are already working in the sector, we hope this article has given you some insight into the role of a childcare educator. Childcare is a rewarding and challenging profession that offers the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of young children and their families.
Natasha Stabler - Early Childhood TeacherOnly About Children
"One photo of my Early Childhood memories that always comes to mind is of myself sitting on my pretend horse, being a big log with my arms wrapped around the massive upward branch being its neck.
My memories of my Early Childhood Education years are never about the purchased toys that we had on the shelves. They are always about the loose parts, imaginative and messy play, and the educators that let us be messy, creative, and free thinkers whilst loving these as much as us children did.
My passion for these areas of play is still where my teaching is most ignited. Perhaps it is through my ability to still enjoy this play that lends itself to deep enjoyment with the children to continue to enquire alongside, research with and explore together that makes learning so much fun for us all. I’d pose questions that perhaps I know the answers already for, hoping for a child’s unique and untampered perspective. I’d listen, not just hear but respectfully listen, allowing the child time, attention, and patience. Children blossom when encouraged to share with their community of learners, and this is often where educators hold the greatest gift we can give children which is our time and undistracted attention to make them feel like they are worthy and their voice matters."
Natasha is a qualified Early Childhood Teacher with 20+ years experience, she is a mum of one and currently works as an Education Business Partner at Only About Children.
Why is a career in childcare rewarding?
There are many reasons why a career in childcare can be rewarding. These include:
- Seeing children grow, learn and develop over time
- Forming bonds and relationships with children and families
- Knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of children and families
- Having the opportunity to be creative and use your imagination in your work
- Working as part of a team of dedicated professionals.
If you are passionate about working with children and families and possess the skills and attributes required for the role, then a career in childcare may be for you.
Being an early childcare educator is a demanding yet rewarding job. It’s amazing to see children grow and learn each day, and it’s truly gratifying to help them become their best selves. We hope the tips we shared will help you in your work with children. What do you love most about being a childcare educator? Share your thoughts in the comments below!