Perhaps one of the most fulfilling jobs in childcare is being an early childhood educator. This is a job that will put you in contact with children at their first stage of formal learning and as such, it offers an opportunity to make a lifelong impact in the life of a boy or a girl. An early childhood educator will help children through their path of self-discovery by instilling confidence and being a source of inspiration. Henry Adams once said, “a teacher affects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops.”
As an educator, you are responsible for being a part of team that provides high quality education and care for children. between the ages of
- Organising and implementing early learning educational programs as set by the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF).
- Inspiring and motivating children to form positive attitudes towards learning and interacting with others
- Foster an environment that encourages problem solving and curiosity and exploration in children.
- Create genuine relationships with children to give them a sense of belonging and emotional support.
- Create positive and friendly relationships with families and community that promotes information sharing and creates a sense of duty and care.
- Be in charge of child health and safety while in school. As such, the early childhood educator must monitor the environment to ensure it is safe and prevent the occurrence of accidents. He or she must closely monitor the well-being of children and take appropriate action if a child is unwell.
Just like in other jobs, salary is determined by a variety of factors. Some of the most common ones include the following:1.The caliber of the institution. Some top caliber institutions such as international schools pay much higher than less notable schools. This is because they charge much higher fees compared to other schools hence they are able to pay better. There are less than 100 international schools in Australia.2. Experience acquiredStarting salaries for educators with no experience are usually lower and can rise significantly with experience. On an average, salaries range from$ 37,000 to $ 58,000 annually.3.Responsibility.Early childhood center managers earn significantly higher salaries than junior staff especially if they have many years of experience.
Most of these institutions operate only five days a week. Most of the positions are flexible and allow working part time. Some require a minimum of 3 days a week while permanent positions might require 38 hours a week. On average, early childhood educators in Australia work 37.6 hours a week which is less than the average hours put in per week in any other occupation.
Who is this role for?
According to statistics, 98.3 % of all early childhood educators in Australia are women. This, therefore, means that there are very few men who are childhood educators. Whatever the reason that makes women attracted to this role, men can be equally good at it. Men should not be intimidated into entering this field even though it is dominated by women. This role is for all people who are passionate about children and learning and teaching.
As this is a job that deals with children, you must gauge yourself to determine whether you have an interest in working with kids. If you find it cumbersome to deal with them or dislike being around children, this is not the job for you. You must be empathetic to their needs and be attentive to detail.
You can become an early childhood educator with a certificate III/IV. However, it is easier to find a job with a diploma or bachelor’s degree. About 49.2 % of early childhood educators possess a bachelor’s degree. You will also find it necessary to acquire a first aid certificate and a supervisor’s certificate.
Skills and experience
Entry level positions usually require no experience and fresh graduates can easily be employed. However more senior positions such as center manager require at least three years of managerial experience.Even though entry-level positions do not require prior experience, they require a set of skills. This include: a) Problem-solving skills.b) Ability to multi-task.c) First aid and CPR skills.d) Interpersonal skills.e) Good organizational skills.
Job prospects and industry
Other than private schools, the local government, and community-based centers are the largest employers of early childhood educators. Already 26,200 people in Australia are employed as early childhood educators and this figure is expected to increase to over 29,000 in the next two years. According to the department of employment of the Australian government, the future employment growth is 11% per annum in this industry. There are therefore high chances that students pursuing early childhood education will find jobs.
The good vs the bad
Dealing with kids is fun; they hold no grudges and are ever happy. You get to impart life lessons and you become just like a parent. You will form strong bonds with the kids and sometimes feel like they are part of your family. There is nothing as fulfilling as watching the excitement and laughter of a child.
Working with kids requires a lot of patience. Their growing minds will not always learn things as fast as you would want them to. Being around kids can be grubby work. And be prepared to have a lot of sick days.