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What qualities make a great Early Childhood Educator?

by Chloe Baird

Working in childhood education can be a hugely rewarding career path for the right kind of candidate.

After all, working in childhood education means that you’re contributing to the development of the next generation. Through your hard work, you’re shaping the minds of young kids to give them the best possible start in life.

Early childhood education encompasses both formal and informal education of children from birth up to the age of 8. There’s no denying that it can be hard work looking after young children all day. Your day will be jam-packed with activities as you teach painting classes, sing songs, read books, mediate between arguments, facilitate games and offer comfort to little ones who miss their mums and dads. But the upside is that you get to enjoy a career in a growing industry that can be immensely satisfying and rewarding.  

Check out our list of the most important things you need to be a great Early Childhood Educator.

What is it like to work as a Childhood Educator?

Top 7 skills you need to be a great Childhood Educator

1. Patience

Above all, a great Childhood Educator must have boundless patience. Some days, kids will test your limits, and you’ll have to remain calm and positive through it all. Young children under the age of 8 tend to have pretty short attention spans, and they haven’t developed the emotional intelligence that will come naturally later in life. They’ll be looking to you for guidance and support, and you need to be patient with them as they learn and grow.  

2. Highly organised

As you’ll be in charge of supervising children, you need to make sure that you’re organised so that your day goes according to plan (for the most part) and to ensure that you’re always keeping a safe eye on the children in your care. Children need activities to keep them entertained, and they’re used to having certain things at certain times – like scheduled naps and meals. So you need to make sure that the days activities are planned out accordingly. This is also to your benefit, so you can catch some downtime throughout the day.

3. Flexible and adaptable

Part of being organised is always understanding when to be flexible, and how to adapt if a situation changes. Anyone working in childhood education will tell you that even the best laid plans can go awry at times. So you need to be able to think quickly on your feet when one of your little learners falls and grazes their knee, doesn’t want to eat their lunch, splashes paint all over another child or any number of other little hiccups. Stay calm, remain flexible, and learn to adapt.

As a Childhood Educator, you’ll need to always make sure the kids in your care are getting equal support.

4. Understand diversity

There is no “one size fits all” learning style that will work for all children, so you need to remain open to new ideas and aware of diversity. You’ll also be interacting with children at an age where they are beginning to develop foundational skills that will affect them as they grow. It’s incredibly important that you’re aware of how you are interacting with children in order to give them the support they need to develop in a healthy, balanced way.

Toys should be available for all children, regardless of whether these toys are traditionally thought of as ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls’. The same goes for dress-ups. You could also encourage cultural diversity and education through a variety of activities, such as reading books that focus on First Nations stories.

5. Have good communication skills

Some children may be chattier than others, and it’s important for you, as an Early Childhood Educator, that you encourage all children to continue learning and engaging with others through verbal communication.

On the flip side, you’ll also be dealing with parents quite regularly, so you’ll need good communication and interpersonal skills to engage with them and let them know how their child is doing.

6. Bring your enthusiasm every day

To work successfully with children and to have an impact on their development, you need to make sure that they respond well to you. This means being authentic and bringing your best self to work every single day.

Some days will definitely be harder than others. Some of the kids might try your patience, or you might be struggling with an issue outside of work. But you must remember that at the end of the day, these kids are relying on you to help give them a great start in life, and you need to give them your all. To ensure that you’re doing right by them, you need to give them the attention, respect and care they deserve.

7. A nationally recognised qualification

The minimum qualification required to work in childcare is the CHC30113 Certificate III.

Open Colleges offers three different courses that can help you land a job in the childcare industry:

This sector is currently experiencing significant growth, and trained professionals are in high demand. If you’re looking for a job that offers reliability and growth, and allows you to embrace your inner child every single day, then a job as a Childhood Educator could be perfect for you.

Unlock your potential today with Open Colleges so you can help the next generation reach theirs.

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