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Who is an early childhood educator, and how can you be one?

A good educator is one who not only helps you build a promising career but also a good life. Imagine having this impactful educator from a young age where your skill development capabilities are at a maximum. An early childhood educator is an individual who is responsible for instructing, guiding, and taking care of children at a daycare or preschool. They help children develop basic abilities and design an environment of fun learning. 

These individuals are responsible for supervising and scheduling a young toddler’s entire day, including meal prep, naps, and play times. They create a space where children can feel safe and learn to build relationships with each other. An early childhood educator must have a robust value system because children are great observers and imitators. 

What skills do you need to be an early childhood educator?

Dealing with children can be tricky, and you must understand child behaviour before working with young folks. Educators are responsible for shaping future leaders’ lives, so they should have a high level of competence in any managerial task. They bring out the best in children and teach them to respect their peers. 

They should have physical agility and strength and be adaptable to deal with any mishappening that could arise during the day. Educators are also required to keep track of a child’s everyday behaviour and progress, so they need to have good documentation skills and know how to make ethical decisions in the interest of their students.  

Since they are working with individuals who are not too expressive, they should have good listening and observation skills, which give them the ability to understand a child’s needs even if they are not communicative. 

One of the most critical skills needed in this field is empathy. The educator needs to realise that a young child is leaving their comfort zone, i.e., their house, and coming to a space they are unfamiliar with. The children do not see their parents for the entire day and are often upset about it. Educators should have the skill to make the child feel at home because, in their little brains, they are the ‘substitute’ for their parents. 

What kind of educational background would you need?

Like any other profession, being an early childhood educator in an organised sector would require either a Bachelor’s/Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education (ECE) or a specialised child care program, depending on the workplace you are applying to. This qualification will involve learning methods specially made for teaching children and contributing to their development. 

Some subjects they should take up in high school are English, Arts, Social Service, Health and Recreation, and Community Care. 

They would also be required to get licensed by the state board and have the certification to work with children. Not only this, but it is also mandatory for them to gain first aid and CPR skills in emergencies. They are also subjected to a criminal record check before getting a job as an educator. 

Where can you work, and what would your pay scale be?

Work opportunities for these educators can arise at child care centres, pre-schools, family day homes, and even domestic violence shelters. Their working hours are usually fixed if they work in a professional agency or school. Unstructured organisations have a shift-changing system where educators can work flexibly. 

They are paid on an hourly basis. The Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) reported that kindergarten school teachers earn an average salary of $57,980 per annum and have accelerating job prospects of 3% from 2018 to 2028.

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