A question I am asked on a regular basis by many of my students is what can they do to be suitable to work in an early childhood setting? As an early childhood trainer and assessor I have had the opportunity to meet and support hundreds of students who have gone onto to be amazing educators making a difference to the lives of children. What are some of the attributes they have demonstrated to gain employment in an early childhood setting?
Passionate about caring and supporting the development of children
Students who go onto becoming amazing educators all have a deep passion and commitment to advocating and supporting the development of young children. This quality can be hard to define but for me I feel that it comes both from the heart and the head. It’s in the way educators genuinely interact with children, how they are open and honest with children, how in everything they do in their role as an educator has the child as their first and primary focus.
Duty of Care
This might sound very simple but the one thing I ensure all my students remember and understand when they are in training for their early childhood qualification is their ‘duty of care’ to the health and safety of children. If they were to forget any other parts of their qualification training their duty to care for children should and will always guide them into making the right decisions for children in their care.
Having a working knowledge of the National Quality Frameworks
Students who have a strong working knowledge of the components of the National Quality Frameworks and have the ability to demonstrate how they are implemented in an early childhood setting are an attribute that is very valuable to prospective employers. Educators are required to work within the legal and operational requirements of the NQF when they are employed in an early childhood sector and having this knowledge is essential for the job.
Using Soft Skills
Throughout our training sessions we regularly talk about the attributes students need to be successful in their chosen career. In fact, during our placement and work ready session which is built into our Diploma of Early Childhood and Education course we intensively discuss these attributes. In the early childhood industry some of these ‘soft skills’ include things like;
Reliable – early childhood educators particularly just starting out will more than likely be hired by services or agencies as a ‘casual’ worker. This means that sometimes they can and will be called early in the morning to work the same day at short notice. Being reliable and accepting work on a regular basis will really go far in supporting further work and in time a more permanent role within an early childhood service. When employed in early childhood setting your attendance and reliability are so important to the function and operation of the service, when educators are absent or running late this create issues in maintaining legal educator to child ratios.
Using your Initiative – when working in an early childhood service educators are expected to use their initiative on a regular basis. This might mean fixing a potential situation or problem before it occurs, jumping in and helping out without being asked, being a team player and working together for the benefit of children
Ability to work in a team – when working at an early childhood centre you will be working with a team of educators. Educators working with others understand that to successfully work in a team they will need to follow and provide instructions, co-operate, speak and interact in a respectful manner, work collaboratively, use their initiative, support each other to care and educate children
Being adaptable –There is a great saying when working with children that ‘no two days are the same’ and this is very true. When working in an early childhood setting educators need to have the ability to adapt and work to different situations that come about in the course of the day. The ability to continue to learn and grow throughout your career is a great attribute to have and to demonstrate in your daily work
Positive Attitude – students who go onto be amazing educators will go into the job role with a positive and ‘can do’ attitude. They know through their quality qualification training that they have the learnt the knowledge and skills required to perform the job role and be a valued team member. Being positive and confident in your ability will shine through in an interview and employers will be more likely to hire an educator who demonstrates these attributes
So there is a brief overview of some of the attributes you will need to ensure that you are suitable candidate for the early childhood industry!