What is an Early Childhood Educator?

August 20, 2019

An Early Childhood Educator (ECE) works with children during their earliest years, usually between the ages of 0-6. An ECE can be found in several settings, including early learning centres, preschools, Kindergartens and into the first few grades of school, and has received either a university degree in education, or a college diploma (a 2-year program) with an emphasis on child guidance and planning/implementing age appropriate programming. 

The main goal of an Early Childhood Educator is to guide the development of children during their first few years of life and typically follows a holistic approach, meaning they help grow a child's intellectual, emotional, social, physical, creative and spiritual potentials.

As an ECE continues to work, there are many opportunities for growth and development. A quality educator will take part in educational experiences through conferences and courses, and read books to learn more about the changes in early childhood education and development, as well as any approaches they may be interested in working with (read more about the different approaches here). 

An Early Childhood Educator should always be wanting to develop a deeper understanding of what it means to work with children, and how to continue to enrich the child's environment and their development, as well as work with families to make sure they are all working towards the same goals. They understand what goals are developmentally appropriate for each child (as individuals, as an ECE knows that each child learns differently), and set proper limits and expectations to help a child achieve those goals.

ECEs are so much more than a glorified babysitter. Besides taking care of the basic needs of your child, they understand that child development involves knowledge about how to observe each individual child so that programs may be tailored specifically for a group of children, and not just provide blanketed themes like Winter and Fall. 

They also know how important it is to learn about what you value at home and in the community so that it can be applied at the early learning centre your child is attending. As well, they understand that knowledge about child development is crucial in providing quality care because it is how an ECE knows when your child needs their hearing tested for delays in speaking, or needs some extra support to help them reach the same level of development as their peers (while completely aware that your child may never reach that level, but being compassionate and doing everything they can to help anyway).

An Early Childhood Educator is a teacher that helps children question the world around them and come up with their own answers. They are a source of comfort away from home, a social/emotional guide, and so much more!

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