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Become An Early Childhood Teacher

An Early Childhood Teacher is one of the first authority contacts for a child outside of the family environment. They provide the building blocks of academic knowledge such as basic literacy and numeracy as well as encourage interest in arts like storytelling, music and sports. You have the opportunity to frame the life of a child and prepare them for the world and their futures.

As a kindergarten teacher, you would also be required to offer support and feedback to both the children and their families. On a daily basis there will be issues such as, resolving conflict whilst being fair and articulate, offering assistance to children with special needs, ensuring positive social behaviours, and encouraging a good standard of personal hygiene.

General responsibilities:

  • Devise and implement learning and development programs in line with the Early Years Learning Framework.
  • Educate children on basic literacy, numeracy, arts, and social behaviours.
  • Supervising children during playtime and overseeing their care and safety.
  • Lead a team of educators in the classroom setting
  • Communicate with the children in a friendly, courteous manner encouraging children to extend their vocabulary and use of language.
  • Establish and maintain suitable developmental records and daily observations of children’s progress
  • Develop report with parents, update them on their child’s progress, identifying any concerns and working with them resolution methods

What does an Early Childhood Teacher do?

Based in either kindergarten, preschool, childcare centre, or a community centre, you’ll need to plan lessons in accordance with the curriculum. As teacher you’ll need to make the lessons engaging while at the same time being friendly, tolerant and inclusive.

You’ll be responsible for overseeing play times and developing fair and impartial solutions to conflict amongst children, often providing some form of positive outcome for both parties. There will also be a requirement to provide measured discipline, meaning it will need to be proportionate to the issue and well explained.

As a close contact to children away from the home setting, teachers are also expected to observe and offer feedback on children’s behaviour. They also communicate with parents and possibly child psychologists and speech therapists, if necessary.

Skills And Experience:

Early Childhood Teachers should have a love for children and a genuine desire to assist them with their development. Patience and kindness are also important, as the job can be tiresome and repetitive, and you will need to maintain a steady emotional state for the kids to respect and turn to. Further, Early childhood teachers must be good multi-taskers. In some cases, you will have over 20 kids running around which you will need to keep an eye on, whilst getting them to parttake in activities. On a personal level, an Early Childhood Teacher should have:

  • A desire to work with children.
  • A high degree of patience and empathy.
  • Excellent planning and organisational skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Be in good physical condition.

Qualifications

In terms of qualifications, across the whole of Australia it is a requirement that all Early Childhood Teachers have some form of degree, normally a Bachelor’s of Early Childhood Education. Requirements can vary by state and also by the size of the educational institution so potential teachers will need to check specific local requirements on the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA). You can check and choose courses from the ACECQA list of approved early childhood teaching qualifications.

Most teaching courses will include a placement at a school, so you will normally gain some form of in-field experience to help make the transition from study to working life.

Salary & Working Hours

Early Childhood Teachers can expect to work at least 36 hours a week, often with some out of hours work to cover for other staff. Hours are usually fixed each day of the week, and typically fall between 8am and 4:30pm.

The starting salary for an Early Childhood Teacher is around $63,842 per annum, rising to around $80,000 - $90,000 for senior positions and experienced staff. Typically wages increase with more experience, but it is also important to consider different institutions. Like most professions, the better the childcare, the higher wages.

Employment Prospects

There are over 36,000 kindergarten teachers across the country, a number which is expected to grow over the next 5 years. Very few people are unemployed in this career, making it an excellent choice for someone looking for a stability.

For experienced teachers the possibility of becoming a headteacher or centre director is a possible future career option. Or, even undergoing further study to teach primary/secondary levels

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