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What is Early Childhood Education?

by Craig Boyle
Posted: August 24, 2020

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**This is an updated post**

The term early childhood education is sometimes misunderstood . What exactly denotes ‘early childhood’? And, if you want to become an Early Childhood Educator, what kind of teaching will you be doing? 

Broadly, the term refers to the teaching of children from birth up to 8 years of age. These young minds are at their most impressionable and vulnerable, requiring a Teacher who can support and develop them mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically.  

The goal of early childhood education is to help prepare children for school and give them the best possible foundations for a successful lifetime of learning. 

What does an Early Childhood Educator do?

As an Early Childhood Educator, you’ll be tasked with helping children to develop at the very early stages of their lives .

You will work to ensure that children are provided with a well-rounded curriculum that develops them in all key areas. You may either work directly with children where you’ll help implement the curriculum, or act in a managerial role where you’ll help put the framework together.

It’s likely that your duties or responsibilities will also address a child’s health – including aspects such as nutrition and family networks. This early childhood stage is critical in life, so it’s important that these aspects are in place to ensure children can enter primary education successfully.

One of the key differences between early childhood and standard education is that there is a greater onus on development over teaching, meaning you MUST flag concerns and work together with service networks to ensure a child’s emotional and physical wellbeing is supported. This is in addition to their educational requirements.

What skills do I need to have to be an Early Childhood Educator? 

The most obvious one here is that you must not only enjoy working with children, but that you must have a real enthusiasm for helping them learn and grow.  

Working with infants and small children can be tough at times. Even the most adorable little angels in your care can throw some pretty epic tantrums! But as you get to watch them develop in different ways – from improving their social skills, to learning new words, to understanding what activities they really love taking part in – you’ll get to see first-hand the importance of your work.  

Some of the skills you’ll need to have to be a great Childhood Educator are:  

  • Patience 
  • Flexibility 
  • Good communication skills 
  • Enthusiasm 
  • Authenticity 

Do you think you’d love to work as an Early Childhood Educator?

Where do Early Childhood Educators work? 

Early Childhood Educators work across public and private childcare centres. In this role, you could also work from home as part of a community family day care, which might be run by a local organisation like a church, or by local government.  

Is childcare a good industry to work in? 

This is an industry with high demand and strong growth. According to the government’s Job Outlook site, while the average wage for Early Childhood Educators is less than the national average (about $953 per week for an adult working full time), they also tend to work shorter weeks (approximately 41 hours per week, as opposed to the national average of 44 hours).  

One of the biggest struggles the industry faces at the moment is a lack of qualified professionals. So for those looking to begin a stable and fulfilling career in childcare, now is the time to start studying!  

How to become an Early Childhood Educator 

The good news is that being an Early Childhood Educator requires less intensive study as opposed to traditional teaching routes.  

To become an Early Childhood Educator, you’ll need to complete a qualification. The minimum requirement to work in childcare is the CHC30113 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.  

If you’re aiming to reach a more  senior level in the childcare industry, then you could consider studying the CHC50113 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care.  

Alternatively, you could combine the Certificate III and the Diploma with Open Colleges dual qualification. 

Are you ready to begin a fulfilling career in childcare? Find out where an online course in childhood education could take you with Open Colleges today.  



Craig Boyle

Originally from Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK, Craig worked for Open Colleges as a Copywriter. Craig's career passions include marketing, small business, tech, start-ups and leadership.

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