How to become a Teacher - Early Childhood

Early childhood teachers plan and conduct education programmes for young children.

Personal requirements of a Teacher - Early Childhood

  • Able to relate to children and their families
  • A keen desire to teach children
  • Willing to learn
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Sound literacy and numeracy skills
  • High-level planning and organisational skills
  • Enthusiastic, tactful, patient and a sense of humour
  • Prepared to work outside of school hours

Education & Training for a Teacher - Early Childhood

To become an early childhood teacher you usually have to complete a degree in education, with a major in early childhood. Alternatively, you can complete a bachelor degree in a related area, followed by a postgraduate qualification in education, specialising in early childhood. To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in education with a major in early childhood. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks. Entry to postgraduate courses usually requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree. A number of universities in Australia offer postgraduate courses in education specialising in early childhood. They may be available by distance education. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Teacher - Early Childhood

Early childhood teachers may perform the following tasks:

  • plan activities using a variety of materials and equipment to develop good coordination, social skills, creativity, self-expression and an interest in learning
  • promote language development and self-confidence through storytelling, drama, music and discussions
  • help to organise and participate in excursions to enhance learning experiences
  • encourage children to question and explore the world in which they live
  • observe children to evaluate and record their progress and to detect signs of developmental disorders, ill health or emotional disturbance
  • recommend appropriate programs for further development
  • work with guidance officers, speech pathologists and psychologists to assist children with special needs
  • help integrate children with special needs into mainstream classes
  • promote health and safety concepts and social interaction with other children
  • promote awareness and appreciation of diversity in multicultural societies
  • attend to sick children and those in need of first aid
  • comfort children who are hurt or distressed
  • assist children with their toileting and personal hygiene
  • discuss aspects of children’s development with parents and other educators
  • discuss the aims of the education program with parents
  • participate in community activities and parent/staff committees
  • supervise and work with student teachers and trainee childcare workers.

Working conditions for a Teacher - Early Childhood

Early childhood teachers work in government-owned pre-school centres, early education classes, community kindergartens and community childcare centres.

Employment Opportunities for a Teacher - Early Childhood

Early childhood teachers are employed in education and care services for children aged 0–8 years by state and territory education departments, government and non-government schools or childcare centres. They may work in metropolitan or remote areas, or Aboriginal communities. Self-employment opportunities exist as the proprietor of a private preschool or childcare centre. Other opportunities may be available as home tutors.

Additional Information
Before undertaking practical placements required by courses, students will need to obtain a Working with Children Check. A National Police Certificate may also be required. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. You will need to register with the teaching board in your state or territory. Teachers are required by mandatory reporting laws to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. You may also be required to hold an approved Provide First Aid Certificate and have completed training in anaphylaxis management and emergency asthma management. Contact the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority for more information.
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