7 Habits of a Successful Early Childhood Educator

7 Habits of a Successful Early Childhood Educator

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!

Be Prepared

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.

Be Aware

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.

Continue Growing

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 🙂


Check out my other posts:

5 Ways to Make the Most of Professional Development

Lesson Planning for Mixed Age Groups

Bookkeeping for Your Child Care Business




15 thoughts to “7 Habits of a Successful Early Childhood Educator”

  1. Thank you for the info..great suggestions. Can you tell me if there are any sites that I can access to see if any workshops/seminars are in my area? Thanks Again

    1. Thanks for stopping by and glad you’ve found this post helpful.

      As for workshops in your area, I would suggest contacting universities and colleges that have an Early Childhood Education Program. The information may not be posted there, but you will likely be able to contact either the teacher of the program or just give the main office a call. You could also try reaching out to a local child care center by phone or on Facebook as well.

      All the best 🙂

  2. I would add “Never be afraid to ask for help.” Sometimes we feel isolated in our ECE rooms, and more so if we don’t have the support staff that we need. This also applies to planning our curriculum, or just getting through those tough, long days! I am blessed to have an assistant and some great coworkers/friends on staff! I couldn’t do it without them!

    1. That’s a great one Lisa! And so important. Having great coworkers makes our lives as ECEs so much more enjoyable! Glad to hear you have a great support team. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  3. I find listening, not just to what they are saying but also their body language, is very important to me. It not only tells me what a child is thinking but also what they are feeling.!!!

  4. Have Pride in your environmennt
    Your environment is a reflection of your practice, plus to rolemodel pride and respect for all learning resources

  5. I think you have summed it up pretty well and will share with my team. I do think that I would add being a supportive and positive member of a team as this is very important in providing a positive environment for children to grow and learn. But I also agree with Jessica about the environment.

  6. I would add “Go Outside” to the list of habits for ECE. So many of us forget to take time to go with the children into the great outdoors for fresh air and sunshine (or rain) to rejuvenate, inspire and run free.

  7. I would add “Go Outside” to the list of habits for ECE. So many of us forget to take time to go with the children into the great outdoors for fresh air and sunshine (or rain) to rejuvenate, inspire and run free.

  8. Get enough sleep and eat healthy. The stronger and more rested you are, the better you will be able to face any challenges or surprises which “may” come up the next day!

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