Until age 8 children are in a developmentally rich period of their lives. One way to make a big difference is to be an early childhood educator (ECE)!

It's not just about teaching ABC's and 123's. ECEs use researched-backed techniques to help kids relate with one another and the world around them.

Is being an ECE the right career path for you?

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What Do Early Childhood Educators Do?

It's so much more than babysitting! ECEs teach through play time with understanding of brain development.

Captain Holt from Brooklyn 99 saying

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Educators need to stay up to date on current research on child development and be willing to try new techniques. Exposing children's developing brains to a variety of stimulation is key.

Early childhood educators integrate the following content areas into play:

  • Math

  • Science

  • Language and literacy

  • Visual and performing arts

  • Fine and large motor skills

  • Social sciences

Illustration: Person juggling 5 balls

Quiz

What is the best way for ECEs to stay up-to-date on the latest educational research and methods?

What Does It Take?

  • An energetic personality and plenty of stamina

  • Creativity to seek out new ways to teach

  • Leadership skills

  • An intrinsic drive to make a difference

  • Patience

  • Strong communication skills

  • Adaptability in the moment

"Children must be taught how to think, not what to think." ~Margaret Mead

Which of these people would do well getting into early childhood education?

Illustration: Person with short haircut, yellow t-shirt, and blue coat Paul spent his summers in high school working as a lifeguard. He enjoyed teaching youth swim lessons and just started a class in child development.

Illustration: Person with short haircut, yellow t-shirt and blue jacket Jamie is social and looks for the 'big idea' in every experience. They enjoy learning new skills and working in an office setting.

Illustration: Person with bun hairstyle and white-collared black shirt. Isla is into tech and economics. She has always helped with her youngers siblings and cousins. She is an introvert.

Illustration: Person with short hair and beard wearing a brown collared shirt Tim has always worked with his hands. He considers himself an artist and entrepreneur.

Quiz

Who might be the best fit for a career as an ECE?

Will A Career As An ECE Pay The Bills?

Flaticon Icon Early childhood educators make an average of $30,000 (USD) annually in the United States.

Flaticon Icon Early childhood educators make an average of $35,000 (CAD) annually in Canada.

As with most careers, pay rate will vary based on experience and certification.

Where Can You Be Hired?

There are three main types of early childhood education degree programs, depending on the job you'll be looking for.

  • Associate's Degree or Certification Program (1-2 years)

  • Bachelor's Degree (4 years)

  • Master's or Doctoral Degree (Bachelor's Degree + 2-6 years)

Example careers with various levels of education: eg. aid at ECE care center, lead preschool teacher, school counselor

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Take Action

The decision to be a teacher, particularly during the formative early childhood years, is a BIG ONE to make. Teaching will not be the right fit for everyone, but is a career that needs passionate individuals.

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This Byte has been authored by

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Heather Savage-Scott

Educator, junior Instructional Designer