At Grand Canyon University, the Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education degree helps prepare graduates to find roles as highly-qualified kindergarten through 3rd grade teachers. The degree program embeds two practicum experiences so that students may experience work in pre-kindergarten as well as in kindergarten through 3rd grade. This experience allows early childhood education students to decide where their talents would be best suited.
Early childhood education is essential for future learning. In these early years, children learn the foundations for many of the skills that they will master later on. Teachers who work in an early childhood environment must be highly skilled professionals that understand how learning and childhood development work and how to harness the children’s natural curiosities into learning opportunities.
1. Show Patience
Teachers working with young children have to be patient. They spend their days giving reminders about behavior, hygiene, manners and procedures. They may feel like they have said the same thing a million times in one day and they have to be okay with that. Early childhood educators know how to keep cool under pressure and they do not let the sometimes repetitive nature of the job get to them. Instead, they view it as a way to support children and their learning.
2. Practice Flexibility
Young children are rarely ever consistent. They change and grow rapidly which means that early educators need to be flexible with everything from lesson planning to reward systems to dealing with behavioral issues. On a larger scale, early educators who run daycare centers may need to be flexible with budgets as well as curriculum.
3. Inspire Creativity
Arts and music are a big part of the early childhood classroom. Educators in these environments must be creative and think about how children best learn about a topic. Incorporating art and music into a curriculum can have a great deal of positive effects on child development, so early educators must think outside of the box and seek the most effective ways and modalities to teach children.
4. Encourage Curiosity
Just like the children around them, early educators must be curious. They must seek to understand the stages of development that a child is going through and determine the best course of action for that child's education. An early educator will ask children many higher-level thinking questions and will dig deeply into a child's motivation.
5. Exude Excitement
Young children feed off of the emotions of the adults around them, so an early educator must have a great attitude for much of the time. They can be serious when they're talking about rules and procedures, but they must remember that their passion for the job and the children should come through in their personalities.
6. Master Communication
Some early childhood educators may work with children who have not completely mastered language. They need to be able to model communication for those children who are still developing their speaking and listening skills. Additionally, early childhood educators work closely with parents and other educators to ensure a child's development. Therefore, they must be able to communicate in a professional and comprehensive manner about a child's readiness and growth.
7. Model Acceptance
Young children come to early education environments from a variety of backgrounds. Their early experiences shape the way they communicate, behave and develop. Accepting diversity and differences amongst children and their abilities is a key component to supporting them. Early educators understand child development and use those applicable differences to inform their planning and instruction so that they can work with children at their level.
8. Maintain a Sense of Humor
Children are funny. They say things that make us laugh and they do things that make us shake our heads. An early childhood educator gets to experience all of these things with children throughout the day. Having a sense of humor, and teaching with one, makes an early childhood educator able to best connect with the children they teach.
If you are interested in working with young learners in either daycare or school environments, consider earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Early Childhood Education degree at Grand Canyon University. Learn more about the courses you can take toward teacher certification in early childhood education today by visiting our website.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.