dcsimg

Career Story: Early Childhood Teacher

Early Childhood Teacher

Job Title: Early Childhood Educator

Education: University of MA, Boston, BA in progress

Previous Experience: I have teaching experience in afterschool programs and as a classroom aide. I also started my current position as a substitute while earning certification.

Job Tasks: I teach in a child care center that provides education and care to children ages three months to five years. We have five classrooms, one for infants, one for young toddlers and another for older toddlers, one for young preschoolers and another for older preschoolers. We are open 50 hours per week and most children attend each day.

As a toddler teacher, I work with two other full time teachers and one part time teacher. There are always two or more teachers present with our students and our shifts overlap in the middle of the day. There are nine students present at a time in each of the toddler classes. Eight are full time positions and one is half time, so a child leaves after lunch and another comes for the afternoon.

We use an emergent curriculum model which means that we plan activities based on the current interests of our children. We adapt and alter our plans as their interests change. We focus on process and age appropriate learning, not product. We take many pictures in order to show parents what is happening in our classrooms and we use portfolios as one of our tools for communication. We work as a team with parents and constant communication is very important.

Our daily curriculum includes sensory play, art exploration, fine motor activities, creative movement and music activities, books, pretend play and gross motor play (outdoors if weather permits). Our focus is on the individual child and providing not only a stimulating, education environment but also a warm and nurturing one. It is important for our children to feel safe and enjoy school before they are able to learn and grow more independent.

We spend at least one hour per day planning or working on the classroom without children.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is falling in love with the kids and then creating an environment that is positive for each of them. It can be a challenge to meet the needs of all ten students but it is a great challenge.

The worst part of the job is not having enough time to accomplish everything we wish. We often have great curriculum ideas but not enough time to carry them out properly. Also, helping toddlers communicate and interact with peers without aggression is a difficult challenge. It is age-appropriate for toddlers to bite, hit and push and it is not natural to expect them to share or have empathy for others. However, it is vital that our classroom is safe for all-this is a difficult balance.

This field in general does not pay well. There are some schools that pay better and have good benefits.

Job Tips:
1. Experience is most helpful though a few child development courses are also important.

2. You will need to have had some experience with young children to be sure you will enjoy the population, this is not a job that anyone can do if they do not LOVE small children.

3. Watch what works for other teachers and incorporate these techniques into your own work. Ask questions, most of this is figured out by doing, learn from what others have already experienced! Be prepared for chaos and constant change.

Additional Thoughts: This is a job for someone who loves the work and is willing to sacrifice a large salary.

Popular Schools offering Early Childhood Education Programs

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

Matching School Ads

Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

  • Programs: M.Ed. - Program Specialist in Early Childhood Specialist, M.Ed. Teaching and Learning - Elementary Education , MA in Teaching - Elementary Education, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Associate

Study online with California University of Pennsylvania.

  • Programs: Early Childhood Education (MEd plus Certification) - Online, Early Childhood Education (Certificate Only) - Online, Early Childhood Education (Master of Education) - Online, more...
  • Degrees: Certificate, Master

Concordia University - Portland offers several fully online 14-month Master of Education (M.Ed.) programs and a fully online Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) program.

  • Programs: M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Curriculum & Instruction: Early Childhood Education, M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction: Social Studies, M.Ed. in Career and Technical Education, more...
  • Degrees: Master

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

  • Programs: Early Childhood Education - EdS, Early Childhood Education - PhD in Education, Early Childhood Education - Doctor of Education, more...
  • Degrees: Doctorate

NU has been educating leaders since 1934 at our campus near Seattle. If you have a dream, we can help make it possible.

  • Programs: Master's in Education, Certificate in Ministry Leadership, Associate in Ministry Leadership, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Certificate, Associate

St. Thomas University offers fully online business and education graduate degrees built on a 50-year tradition of scholastic excellence, community leadership, and faith-focused values.

  • Programs: M.S. in TESOL
  • Degrees: Master

Abilene Christian University is a national leader in Christian higher education and a place where students, faculty, staff and alumni make a real difference in the world.

  • Programs: Doctor of Education in Organizatonal Leadership - Higher Education Track, Doctor of Education in Organizatonal Leadership, Doctor of Education in Organizatonal Leadership - Conflict Resolution Track
  • Degrees: Doctorate
Matching School Ads
You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Preschool Teachers, including:

SPEAK TO AN ADVISOR 1.844.285.6104