Working in early childhood education: a smart career choice

Monday, August 9, 2021

We all want to find that dream career that doesn’t feel like work at all, but when you’re exploring career options it can be difficult to know which is right for you.

A lot goes into making the right choice that will hopefully lead to choosing a career that is a good fit. For example, a smart career choice might incorporate one or more of the following:

  • You have strengths and interests that are suited to the career
  • The sector works for your individual circumstances
  • The work environment suits your preferences
  • There is room to grow your career
  • Jobs are available in the sector
  • You can meet the requirements for the career

Whether you are just entering the workforce and looking for a starting point for your career, or you are considering a career change, the early childhood education sector offers promising career options.

A rewarding sector that involves meaningful work, quality early childhood educators are in high demand. If you think you have what it takes to thrive providing children with the best start in life, you might discover a bright future working in early childhood education.

Working in early childhood education: a smart career choice

Essential work gaining increased recognition

When early childhood education is of a high standard, it can make a valuable difference to a child’s future. High quality early childhood education has been proven to have a notable positive impact on children’s development. This includes socially, cognitively, emotionally and physically, all of which contribute greatly to school readiness.

Research has continued to support the importance of early childhood education and its role in communities, leading to increased recognition for the sector. This has resulted in the acknowledgement of the sector as ‘essential’ during the pandemic as well as Government support in the form of funding for more opportunities for children and incentives for early childhood education services to recruit more trainees.

Over 2021 and 2022, Victoria will be the first region in Australia to introduce Government funded three-year old kindergarten for children. Initially children will have access to 5 hours of a funded kindergarten program each week. The hours will then increase to 15 hours a week for 40 weeks of the year by 2029. To help with this demand, the Victorian government also committed $9,000 incentives to support early childhood educators moving to areas where three-year-old kinder is being rolled out to, and 300 scholarships to aspiring kinder teachers.

Highly skilled educators will continue to be required to join the sector to deliver engaging play-based learning to children across every level of early childhood education. It’s an exciting time to jump into a career as an educator!

A growing sector with high demand

As well as expanding via Government-funding, a growing population combined with more parents returning to work means the demand for quality early childhood education services is growing. In turn, educators to provide education and care are in increasing demand.

Figures from the 2019 Australian Bureau of statistics recorded a staggering 70% increase in couple families with employed mothers with children under 15. With increased workforce participation comes greater need for childcare services.

Already early learning services are finding recruitment of skilled educators to be a challenge, and meeting staffing demands is expected to become more difficult.

Over the next five years, the sector is expecting to see an increase in the following jobs across Australia:

  • Education aides (20.8% or 18,800 jobs)
  • Early learning centre managers (20.9% growth to 16,000 jobs)
  • Primary school teachers (9.6% or 16,300 jobs)
  • Secondary school teachers (7.1% or 9,900 jobs).

Entering the sector now gives you the opportunity to pursue a career with genuine job prospects.

Understanding the qualities of a great educator

If you have been told that you would suit a career in early childhood education, or you have always felt that you enjoy being around children, this could be an indication that you have many of the skills necessary to be an excellent educator. When you get qualified for early childhood education via a high-quality course, you will be able to hone the skills and qualities required to succeed in the sector.

To give children a strong early childhood education experience, these qualities can be advantageous:

  • Empathy
  • Adaptability
  • Critical thinking
  • Reflectiveness
  • Confidence
  • Communication
  • Listening
  • Decision-making
  • Willingness to learn

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.

Exploring a variety of early childhood education roles

There are many roles available in early childhood education and career pathways you can build. This means plenty of room to grow and progress in your career via experience and upskilling.

The duties across positions may vary, but as an early childhood educator you can expect to:

  • Plan engaging experiences for children’s learning and development
  • Observe and record children’s experiences and progress
  • Communicate effectively with families and children
  • Role-model behaviour
  • Manage health and safety

Your early childhood education career will start with a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. This qualification can lead to many rewarding career outcomes, such as:

Early childhood educator

Taking a play-based learning approach, early childhood educators nurture children as they explore and learn in the world, following the National Quality Framework and recording children’s development.

Kindergarten assistant

Support a kindergarten teacher as children gain school readiness and enhance their learning in the year or two leading up to commencing their primary school education.

Outside school hours care educator

Outside school hours care educators give children a safe and nurturing space to relax, play and/or learn before or after school.

Family day care educator

Family day care is a type of care provided from the educators’ home. This is a great opportunity to work from home, giving you the flexibility to choose your own hours.

Upskilling in early childhood education can take your career to the next level.

A Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care could see you advance to another role:

Room leader/Lead educator:

The Room leader takes on the role of lead educator in a childcare setting, taking responsibility for how the room is run.

Centre director

A centre director is the most senior person in a childcare service and is responsible for managing the daily running of the centre.

Playgroup supervisor

As a playgroup supervisor or facilitator your role involves supporting families and community organisations in running effective and valuable playgroup sessions.

University pathways

University qualifications are another pathway to consider when you enter the early childhood education sector. The Diploma-level qualification creates a university pathway for you to gain course credits for studying a Bachelor of Education in either Early Childhood Teaching or Early Childhood and Primary Teaching at Swinburne Online.

Kindergarten teacher

Help to optimise school readiness in children in the lead up to their formal years of schooling as a Kindergarten teacher. This role focuses on developing social, emotional and motor skills through play-based learning experiences, applying the National Quality Framework to maximise children’s outcomes.

Primary School teacher

Primary School teachers teach children from prep through to Grade 6, drawing from the set curriculum to create engaging learning experiences that build children’s literacy, numeracy, physical development, creativity, problem solving skills and more.

Whichever path you take, when it comes to early childhood education you can be sure you will have a fulfilling career.

Working with children for a rewarding career path

The first five years of life are when some of the most significant wiring of our brains takes place. These five years are also the period during which many children spend time in early childhood education. Imagine how you will be able to benefit the lives of children and help to shape a bright future for them through your role in this important industry.

There are so many reasons to choose a career in early childhood, including:

  • Flexibility in hours instead of standard 9-5 days
  • A chance to be creative every day
  • So many opportunities to progress
  • Working with children is endlessly entertaining
  • Having a meaningful, lasting impact on people’s lives
  • Excellent job prospects
  • Every day is different
  • Work life balance

A career in early childhood is a career with a big future. If you think you are ready to be a part of this meaningful sector laying the foundation for children’s lifelong love of learning, now is a great time. It’s also worth checking out our guide to a career in early childhood education here.

Contact Selmar to learn more or find out about our early childhood education courses.

 

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