We’ve already talked about why early childhood education is important for our future generations, with the first five years of a child’s life being the most critical period of development. But how, as early childhood teachers, do you have an impact on shaping our future leaders?
Who hears the words ‘literacy’ and ‘numeracy’ skills and immediately thinks reading, writing and math? You’re not wrong. But it’s not entirely accurate. Whilst most parents and carers believe children learn to ‘read’ at school, what they don’t realise is foundational skills such as speaking, listening, knowledge of rhyme, sounds and words are being developed throughout children’s first years of life. These critical skills are learnt through every interaction such as telling stories in conversations, reading picture books together and creating or discussing drawings. And numeracy skills aren’t bound by counting and numbers – early skills are developed through everyday play such as singing ‘10 little ducks’, counting toys as you pack them away or measuring how tall one child is compared to another. As an early childhood teacher these fun and intentional activities help children prepare and thrive throughout school and work. They have a lifelong impact!
Just like in adulthood, routine and structure helps build healthy habits for kids too. Routine helps us stay calm, safe and secure – and this is no different for children under the age of five! This might include simple tasks like washing their hands, brushing their teeth and packing their bags for the day ahead. The way you structure your learning environment for children will influence how they develop these healthy habits. It’s up to you to determine what each child needs to develop and flourish, helping them prepare for adulthood so they can have a bright and healthy future!
Remember your first day of school and that dreaded feeling of anxiety as you tried to navigate your way through the playground trying to make new friends? We do. Learning how to interact with others, both peers and adults, is an important skill that will help children build healthy relationships with others – and it’s one that we often take for granted. As an early childhood teacher, you’re creating a safe space for kids to develop their social skills, including things like empathy, listening, sharing, communicating ideas and gaining independence. How you teach them to communicate, cooperate and become accountable for their own actions is up to you, so they are properly equipped for future relationships.
Like we said before, early education is about planning for the future and learning the skills to ensure success not just in school, but also in life! Studies have shown that quality early childhood education is a huge determinant of children’s learning and their future successes, including a higher chance of continuous employment and graduating from university. In Australia, almost a third of young people are likely to be failing high school by the time they are 14, and around two in five adults are not fully literate! So you, as an early childhood teacher, can have an enormous impact on preventing these future barriers. It’s pretty incredible to be a part of such an important part of a child’s life. You have the ability to mould and shape our future leaders! Talk about a high return on investment.
As the awareness of the benefits of early childhood education continues to grow, so does the demand for quality early education teachers. Children need passionate and dedicated people like you, who care about the impact of education and learning. It’s in your hands to shape our future leaders!
Sound like you? Then you should check out Future Tracks, a free program that supports your bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. You’ll get access to mentoring, professional development and PAID employment opportunities while you study, so you can be the best early childhood teacher that’s out there.