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You can get a job as an early learning teacher in a quality learning centre or in a range of settings anywhere in Australia, and depending on the country and requirements, possibly overseas.

Other jobs include working in policy to change the way our education and care system works so that it is in great shape to meet future demands. You can also explore opportunities in research to create new knowledge about how children learn and thrive.

If you have an entrepreneurial streak, you can set up your own learning centre, create your own social enterprise, or lead a new program to help Australian businesses and communities re-imagine the future of learning.

As fully qualified teachers, they have the skills and knowledge to design a highly engaging and dynamic program for young children so they are better prepared for school and their future. They have deep knowledge of the way a child’s brain develops in the first five years – a crucial time for learning and development.

They support and guide children through play-based activities and they enhance their engagement in everything from reading, writing and counting to better coordination when catching a ball. They also help children recognise their emotions and develop their own tools to regulate their behaviour.

Early childhood teachers can also recognise when a child needs more support or encouragement in a specific area, either because they are struggling or because they need new challenges.

Currently 1 in 5 children are developmentally vulnerable when they start school and this rate is doubled for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Early childhood teachers can be key to helping children stay on track or get back on track. They co-design the program with children and parents so that no two programs are alike. They think about a child’s individual needs and the needs of the group.

Early childhood teachers are fully qualified professionals who can guide, support, nurture and recognise key skills and abilities so that children are prepared for school and the life ahead of them.

Children in their first five years learn at a faster rate than at any other time during their lives and they learn the most from their interactions with the people caring for them.

Early childhood teachers design programs with children and their parents so that children develop their skills and abilities in:

  • Writing, reading and counting – so they feel ready for school
  • Social interactions and empathy – so they can make friends and get along in a group
  • Physical and spatial tasks – so they can learn to balance well and coordinate when they run, climb or hold a pencil
  • Problem solving – so they can learn to come up with solutions and ask good questions
  • Creativity – so that they can express their emotions through watercolour painting or craft

Most people know what childcare is all about. But not many people really understand the role of an early childhood teacher. But that’s all about to change. As a teacher, you will still play a caring role with children but you will also have a deep understanding of how a child’s brain develops in the first five years – the time we learn faster that at any other time in our lives – and you’ll be able to help that development at this crucial time.

Early childhood educators have a Diploma or a Certificate III while a teacher has a four-year bachelor’s degree.

As the evidence grows about how significantly a child’s brain develops in the first five years, the emphasis is now moving towards describing learning and care settings as early childhood education. But while there’s a shift in the language, there are still lots of care and cuddles!