Define the job of an early childhood professional? What training do they need? What standards are they expected to maintain?
“Children are our future.” This explains to you, the reader, why I chose to dive into the career path of Early Childhood Education. In this essay I will explain to you what the job of an early Childhood professional is, what training they need and what standards they are expected to maintain. These are all important facts in becoming an Early Childhood professional.
First of all, what is the job of an Early Childhood professional? Well, their job is to nourish the growth of children, support families, and work closely with coworkers. Their work with children begins before the first child arrives, and continues until after the last child leaves. Early Childhood educators spend a lot of time with not only the children, but with the families of the children. The book, “Who Am I in the Lives of Children” states that “young children cannot be separated from the context of their homes, so relating to and working with families is an important part of the role of the Early Childhood educator.” If your not a people person, this job may not be for you.
Educators provide a safe and secure environment for the children, allowing them to grow and blossom into an independent child, with a personality of their own. Early Childhood education may take a number of faces including family childcare providers and nannies, teacher aides or teacher assistants, assistant teachers or assistant care givers, teachers or care givers, master teachers or head teachers and lastly, directors. Members of this field share a mission, commitment and set of values. Also, they have agreed on standards, in the form of a code of ethics. In one single day, an Early Childhood professional may function as a teacher, friend, secretary, parent, colleague, nurse, janitor, counselor, entertainer, and a diplomat.
Second of all, what training are Early Childhood professionals expected to have? Well, paraphrasing from the book, “Who Am I in the Lives of Children,” the training and experience required will be determined by program licensing. Requirements vary from state to state. In some states being in good health and having a diploma are all that is necessary. Most states require that teachers and care givers in center based programs be qualified for their jobs through training, either by having a college degree, or a CDA credential(Child Development Associate). From what I know you need approximately 12 units of ECE training to go into the field of Early Childhood education.
Lastly, what standards are Early Childhood professionals expected to maintain? I think the core values of early childhood education are very important to maintain. These core values are:
appreciating childhood as a unique a valuable stage of the human life cycle
basing our work with children on knowledge of child development
appreciating and supporting the close ties between the child and the family
recognizing that children are best understood in the context of family, culture and society
Respecting the dignity, worth and uniqueness of each individual (child, family member and colleague)
Helping children and adults achieve their full potential in the context of relationships that are based on trust, respect and positive reguard.
The NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct is also important is the field of Early Childhood education.(A copy of the code is found in the appendix of, “Who Am I in the Lives of Children”) These two things are important because young children are vulnerable and lack the power to defend themselves.
In conclusion, when people say that “you just babysit kids” they are wrong. Being an Early Childhood professional is a very important job. You are helping shape and raise our future’s leaders.
Courtney from Study Moose
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