Working with young children is a rewarding opportunity. Watching them learn and grow is worth the sometimes long hours and consistent planning. As Educators, we wish to do our best for the children we work with. Below are 7 Habits of Successful Early Childhood Educators… because the little faces that brighten our day deserve us at our best!
Each morning you should know what your game plan is for the day. If you, as the Educator are prepared, the day goes a lot smoother for everyone. If you’ve worked with children for any length of time, you know that things rarely go as planned. Having your activity prepared and set up for the children beforehand will go a long ways in making sure your activity runs a little smoother. Young children are still developing patience. Expecting a group of children to wait 10 minutes while you run around like a chicken with your head cut off collecting items for your craft time, well, that’s just asking for trouble. Do as much as possible for the day ahead so can relax and enjoy the activity with the children.
A successful ECE is aware of the classroom, and of each individual child’s needs. Planning with this knowledge in mind is a must for aiding children in reaching their full potential. You may note that a child who is advanced in one area needs to be challenged a little more than the other children in the group to expand their learning. How can you accommodate them? should be a question you ask. One child may be struggling with learning a new skill, such as using scissors. With this in mind, in your planning, you can make sure there are more opportunities for the child to continue practicing.
You need to have eyes in the back of your head when working with young children. Well, this doesn’t always come first off, you need to be aware that you need to know where ALL children are at ALL times and that they are safe.
Be a Walking Resource
Yup. This one is pretty important. In the Early Childhood field, it can change the whole mood of the day to pull out one of these tricks. What tricks am I talking about, you ask? Why the countless action songs, fingerplays, games, and stories you’ve memorized and filed away in your brain. Having the ability to sing a simple song about the task at hand can help children focus and cut down on unwelcome behaviors. Just think of the tonne of washing hand and clean up songs that are out there to learn. Waiting is particularly difficult for young children, so having a simple story or game to play (Follow the Leader, or Eye Spy work great) helps the time pass a faster and keeps spirits high.
Professional Development is key for any Successful Educator. Attending workshops and seminars on Early Learning inspires us to grow and to try new things in our early learning environments. Bring a pen and pad of paper along to jot down any new ideas you would like to include in your planning. Record any helpful websites suggested or write down the email of a child care centre you would like to keep in contact with. Keeping a journal of workshops you’ve attended is a wonderful way remind yourself of all those great ideas down the road a few months. Where I live, Professional Development is a requirement in the ECE field. Participating with a willingness to learn goes a long way towards becoming the best you can be as an educator.
Networking with other educator is helpful, as we are able to fire up our passion for this field, support each other, and learn helpful tips along the way.
Have the Difficult Conversations
With coworkers, with parents, and with the community at large. When we signed up for a job in the early childhood sphere, it did not occur to most of us, that we also signed up as advocates for the children we work with. We are their voice in a society that they are just beginning learning about. They do not yet have the means to advocate for themselves, so it’s up to us. Speak up, speak out and have those difficult conversations that you know will improve the lives of the children in your care.
Document, Document, Document
Keeping records of children throughout the day is a big part of our role as educators. Finding a way to include parents in this process can be challenging. Often times, our work schedules do not allow for a set time for documentation. Simplify is key. Take a minute to snap a few pictures of the children’s activities. Write a certificate when a child reaches a goal. Make a display of children’s artwork. Having items such as a classroom use camera, multi purpose certificate, pens, and tape in easy to assess (for the teachers, not the children 😉
Take your Time
Ok, this one speaks to me a lot. I enjoy spending time with children doing a messy art activity, or building a skyscraper in the block area. But, constantly running through the back of my mind is the list of tasks I still need to accomplish. Diapering, cleaning, snack prep… we, as educators, are busy. However, when I’m thinking about these things, I tend to rush the children through their process of play. The most enjoyable days are the ones when I let go and let things role…. without my eye constantly on the clock!
Find Time Savers
This is huge. There are so many ways to cut down on the little tasks throughout out day. Layering paper on the art easel, so when one child is finished, there’s a fresh paper underneath ready to go. Having a bowl filled with warm water and facecloths ready to go after a messy lunch. Simply having logical places for things you use often with make your life a whole lot easier.
Is there anything you would add to the list? Please share below 🙂
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