Early Childhood Education
The early school years
Early childhood education is an extremely important career path. When you get involved in the field, you're offering to help children through some of their most formative years! The early childhood education age range typically includes infants to third graders.
If you've gone through schooling for early childhood education you can choose to work in a number of different environments. You might:
- Provide daycare or childcare in a center;
- Work with school age children in educational programs or daycare;
- Be involved in foster care or group home situations;
- Provide assistance to child welfare organizations;
- Work with special education;
- Assist other early childhood educators.
Your job title could be one of many. Some early childhood education students have moved on to be:
- Child development specialists
- Childcare providers or nannies
- Preschool teachers
- Childcare program coordinators and administrators
- Kindergarten teachers
- Teaching assistants
Your education has led you through different styles of teaching that are suited to the early childhood education age range. Some of your student teaching most likely included lesson planning, evaluation and classroom management. You've probably also learned how to deal with the social aspects of this age group, and the best way to deal with parents and guardians.
However, there are some essential skills related to early childhood education that can't be taught. You've probably already considered these aspects before entering into this field of study, but it's good to review your expectations before you start applying for work.
- Am I comfortable with the early childhood age group? Am I able to cater my communication skills to the appropriate level?
- Am I able to bring together fun and learning? Are my expectations age appropriate? Can I create a safe and stimulating classroom?
- Am I comfortable dealing with parents?
As one of the biggest influences in a child's life, an early childhood educator is opting to take on a huge responsibility. You might actually find yourself the person that's setting the tone for a student's entire school career!
Considering how important a career in early childhood education is, you might be surprised to find that the pay scale is lower than in many other education sectors. Depending on the type of school, school board and position you take on, salaries can range from low at $20 000 a year to mid-range at $30 000 a year.