Packing the bags of your little ones and sending them on their first day of pre-school can be both an exciting and daunting process for young parents. Giving your child the best head start possible begins with a solid foundation starting from the early years. There are many common misconceptions when it comes to understanding the integral role of early childhood educators, and the importance they play in your child’s development. We speak with some early childhood educators to identify 5 things that you might not know about them.
1. Early Childhood educators are trained professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills to give a good start to every child.
“Early Childhood educators are highly educated, highly trained professionals. We are not nannies or babysitters but qualified early childhood professionals who possess Diplomas, Degrees and even Masters in Education in our field of work.” – Ms Katherine Koh Principal MY World @ Pasir Ris
In the case of our early childhood educators, their work with young children often puts them into the same category as babysitters or nannies, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
Being well-trained and educated professionals, early childhood educators are equipped with the knowledge and skills to nurture and guide young children in meeting their learning and development potentials. As a result of their efforts, they tend to keep an eye out for any learning or development difficulties in children that parents might not be aware of. Through their efforts, early childhood educators would be able to suggest to parents the need for professional diagnosis and early intervention.
2. Early Childhood educators are creative individuals when it comes to planning activities and programmes for young children.
“Early childhood educators put a lot of thought and planning in creating the learning environment in our preschools. We strive to create conducive and purposeful learning environments with activities and easily accessible resources that support children’s holistic development, nurture creativity and inculcate good moral values. When children play in school, there is purposeful learning involved.” – Ms Nai Beh Bee, Principal, Little Footprints Schoolhouse @Punggol
“Play is the highest form of research”, a quote by Albert Einstein, holds true for learning across all ages, even more so for children.
As no two children are alike, every facet of your child’s learning and development is taken into consideration by our early childhood educators. From the design of the curriculum, the learning environment, to the games and programmes that the children undergo, the planning and implementation are meticulous. Early childhood educators help ensure that the lessons that each child goes through are suitable and appropriate for meeting their developmental and learning needs.
3. Early Childhood educators play multiple roles in their work with children. Their roles go beyond education and care.
“Early childhood teachers are multi-talented individuals who wear numerous hats and take on a variety of roles. We motivate children by being their role models, coordinate centre events, decorate the school and classrooms, plan and write lesson plans!” – Ms Zahara Farouk, Principal, Little Footprints Preschool @ Yishun 701A
The roles and responsibilities of our early childhood educators extend beyond the role of teaching. They inspire our children to be architects and designers as they transform the physical space of the classroom into themed, experiential learning environments. They bring out the artists and maestros in our children through music and dance. They are the caregivers and nurses to our children, knowing child first aid, as well as the dietary restrictions of every child under their care.
Through the different hats that they need to wear and their responsibilities and care towards our children, early childhood educators play the important role of the upstanding role model as well.
4. Early childhood educators are devoted to continuing professional development and are always looking for opportunities to hone their skills and knowledge.
“Even after attaining our Diplomas in Early Childhood Teaching, early childhood educators are still keen in upgrading their knowledge and striving towards attaining higher education in Early Childhood Education such as Advanced Diplomas and Degrees.” – Ms Esther Arulsundari, Principal, MY World @ Canberra
Learning is a lifelong journey, and our early childhood educators adopt that attitude. They are able to keep up with new and exciting developments in the field of early childhood education by working towards fulfilling at least 20 hours of personal or career development.
The spirit of education and learning ensures that our childhood educators are equipped with knowledge and tools that are up to date and relevant, in order to give their best for our children.
5. Words of encouragement and appreciation from parents, no matter how small, can help make an early childhood educator’s day.
“Early childhood educators try our best to meet parent expectations. It does get very stressful at times. When parents give us words of encouragement or write us little ‘Thank You’ notes, we feel comforted. It really makes our day, knowing that our efforts are appreciated by the parents.” – Ms Esther Arulsundari, Principal, MY World @ Canberra
Sometimes, juggling the many day-to day-responsibilities while managing parents’ expectations may leave early childhood educators feeling stressed and under-appreciated. However, appreciation and gratitude from parents can really help to make their day. It also motivates early childhood educators to forge stronger relationships with parents, knowing that there is mutual understanding and respect. As we all know, parental involvement is important to children’s learning and it takes a village to raise a child.
About Early Childhood Development Agency
The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) was set up in 2013. The autonomous agency oversees the regulation and development of kindergarten, infant and child care programmes for children below the age of seven. To achieve their vision of giving every child a good start, the agency works in partnership with their stakeholders to ensure that every child has access to affordable and quality early childhood development services and programmes. For more information about ECDA, visit www.ecda.gov.sg.
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