When you picture an early childhood educator, what comes to mind? Painting and craft all day, playing outside in the sandpit? While those things are part of the fun while caring for and engaging with children as an educator, there’s a lot more to being a quality early childhood educator than many realise.
Providing the essential caregiving and play-based learning experiences for children during a critical time of development requires specific knowledge, skills and qualities. Consider this: more neural connections are formed in the brain during the first five years of life than at any other time. It is within this very period of time that early childhood educators are providing care to children.
With a well-developed skillset centred around connecting with children, understanding them and teaching them through play-based learning experiences, educators can have a lasting impact on children’s lives.
Skills and qualities of an early childhood educator
Early childhood education courses should give budding educators the training needed to deliver the very best care and education for children. There are the obvious skills and qualities of an early childhood educator that are important. Kindness and patience come to mind. And understanding children’s developmental milestones and how they learn are vital. But being a successful early childhood educator goes further than that.
There are various important skills and qualities an early childhood educator requires to deliver the highest quality early childhood education experience for children. Here some key areas that are necessary to develop as you work towards a career in early childhood education:
Being able to understand the way others are feeling and respond appropriately is important in any workplace. This could apply to relating to children, parents or other educators.
Sometimes situations change, at times quickly, and it’s important to be able to adapt to new conditions.
This is the ability to evaluate, compare and form opinions. Useful for solving problems in the workplace or making assessments.
Being capable of reflecting on your approaches, behaviours and learnings is a great tool for self-assessment and improvement through thoughts.
Team work is crucial in the early childhood education workplace, so being comfortable with collaboration and working with other educators, is an important soft skill that will help you to flourish in this environment.
Working with children you need to have the confidence to be a little silly sometimes and speak up as needed. A little confidence goes a long way for you to succeed.
Effective communication skills underpin relationships. Developing these skills will ensure that you can send and receive clear messages with others, improving bonds and understanding situations accurately to inform your actions.
An extension of communication skills, listening to what others have to say, whether they are children or adults, plays an important role in creating meaningful relationships and understanding how other feel.
Making decisions can be challenging, but developing this skill along with other soft skills like reflectiveness and critical thinking will help you to make thoughtful choices in the workplace.
To have a growth mindset is to believe that we can all improve our abilities through learning. With a growth mindset you are more likely to be motivated in the workplace, consider upskilling and career growth opportunities to enhance your skills and knowledge, and support others in striving for goals too.
While these skills and qualities contribute to your success as an educator, you don’t have to have them all under your belt from the get go. Developing these areas takes time and the right approach to training can support this process.
Developing soft skills for successful educators
Soft skills, interpersonal skills, people skills — whatever you prefer to call them, the benefits of developing these skills can offer a range of benefits personally and professionally. As specialist trainers in early childhood education at Selmar, we focus on soft skills through our early childhood education courses with the understanding that they will enhance our learners’ careers and lives.
Well-developed soft skills continue to be increasingly valued for their role alongside practical knowledge and skillsets in all workplaces, including early childhood education. After all, when it comes to shaping a future that is compassionate and caring, soft skills are vital.
Through developing soft skills, educators can better connect with children and one another, contributing to strong bonds. They can better individualise their care style and create meaningful and engaging learning experiences to motivate children, while also discovering their own full potential as an educator.
The real-life impact of human-centred education
To give our learners the opportunity to develop these soft skills and qualities for early childhood education, we take a human-centred approach to education. The overall success of our learners can be enhanced through human-centred education and it has been shown to empower learners, sparking curiosity and creativity through their educational pursuits. In turn, this heightens the capability to thrive as an early childhood educator.
Self-reflection is a key tool utilised throughout the training journey at Selmar. As a practical representation of this human-centred education approach in action, we introduced practical placement reflective journals for our learners. Here you can hone in on the critical skill of self-reflection. This enables learners to take control of their training and ask themselves questions to extend their learning, such as — what am I learning, what are my strengths, what are my weaknesses? This journey of self-reflection evolves throughout the duration of the course, helping learners to track progress on a more personal level and see exactly how far they have come.
Supporting skills that lead to success
Maximising the outcomes for every learner are our team of trainers, who complement our human-centred education approach. This means that the development of soft skills as well as theory and practical learning are all undertaken with the guidance of experienced and compassionate trainers.
We want every learner to develop the skills and qualities essential to become a successful early childhood educator. With the right training and support, you can flourish at the same time as nurturing young children to thrive in life.
Ready to learn more about our approach to early childhood education courses? Contact our team today.