17 Mar Role of an Early Childhood Educator- A Challenge or a Reward?
“What would you like to be when you will grow up?”
This was the question I was asking all the children, who were graduating from pre-school to start the next phase of learning in primary school. Some of the responses were:
“I want to be a policeman.”
“I want to drive the bus.”
“I want to have my taxi like my dad.”
“I want to be a doctor.”
“I want to be a dance teacher because I love dancing.”
“I want to be a magician.”
“I want to be a manager like my mum who works in an office.”
One girl said, “I want to be like you.” I was kind of shocked to hear this because many children have a mind set to be doctors, managers, teachers, police men etc. What made this girl think differently?
I was curious to find out why the girl wanted to be like me. I asked her and her response was, “Because we all like you. When you do not come I feel sad. You make us laugh and we do fun things with you. You let me do what I want to. You help me when I ask you. You teach us new things. You give me a hug when I fall down and cry. You play chasing games with me. Even my mum likes you and says you are the best.”
I never knew that anything I was doing in my role as an educator was inspiring this little brain to choose her career as an early childhood educator in the future.
Many people have the perception that working with children is a simple task. However, in fact, it is the complete opposite. Just like a coin has two sides, the role of an educator can be very challenging, yet highly rewarding. So what would you say are the biggest challenges educators’ face when working in childcare? From my experience and discussion with my colleagues, I can list some as;
- Lack of time to complete program planning and observations
- Too much paperwork
- Pay scale does not represent the dedication and hard work
- Many people consider this is a low status role
- Difficulty involving parents in child’s learning
- Insufficient support from management.
- Complexity of National Quality Framework
- Different levels of staff competency
In spite of all these challenges, I continued working with children for 7 years. I would not say that I didn’t think about quitting in those seven years. I did, just like many others, but I could not quit. What was the driving force that made me continue working with children? Perhaps;
- I like the company of children and miss them when they are not around
- I cherish the moments of watching the brightness in a children’s eye when they learn something new
- Watching them learn through play
- Their creativity and imagination brings a smile to my face
- Seeing them growing from a baby to young person step by step achieving their milestones makes me proud to be a part of their life
- Reading books together and sharing stories to find what dreams their little minds can create
- Singing songs together and modifying the old songs to have fun
- Discovering new things together as a partner with children and becoming an expert at answering children’s questions
- Watching children learn how to share, make friends and solve problems
- Watching children becoming independent so that they can do almost anything for themselves – dressing, eating, drinking, choosing activities they like
- Feedback from families about children’s learning making me feel proud of how I am making a difference in children’s lives.
- The respect I see in families’ eyes when they approach me
- When I take a day off and the next morning as soon as the children see me, I am attacked with cuddles and questions from children as to why I was away?
- The trust that families show in me when they leave their children in my care
- My quest to know more about children and grow professionally
Working in Children’s Services is a great way to make a positive impact on children’s lives, and can lead to many pathways educating children. But having the understanding that it’s going to be a major challenge to look after numerous children, while balancing the needs of paper work, is essential in this industry, especially in the formative years of a child’s life.
“It is now recognised that the early years of life are the most important for learning. That’s when the foundations for the future are laid.” In my eyes, the role of an early childhood educator is more important than a primary school teacher or a high school teacher. We give them the solid foundations to build the future achievers.
If you like the company of children, enjoy taking challenges, want to discover something new about children almost every day, like flexibility of work hours and want to earn from what you enjoy, then the CHC30113 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care or CHC50113 Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care is the right qualification for you to embark your journey on the path of education and caring for children to make a positive difference in their life.
– Sonia Arora