There are a lot of things that go into being an educator, and it’s not just knowing the curriculum. While the list below talks about some of the characteristics that make a good early childhood educator, these skills and abilities would take you into any role in an early education or K-12 education setting.
Children 0-5 are in one of the most developmentally active periods of their lives. For every celebratory milestone, there are also periods of major mental transformation which could reflect back in a child’s behavior. An early educator knows how to spot these developments and has the knowledge and tactics to work with a child’s ebbs and flows to help them navigate their own growth.
Educators are the backbone of our communities, but their jobs aren’t easy. Having a passion for children and the classroom is a major driver to retention and growing within the career. There will be diapers in the infant room, there will be potty training for the littles and big feelings across the board. But if there is passion, those not so fun bullet points of the job don’t feel so bad.
For part of a child’s early education, they don’t always have the language skills or the words to communicate what’s wrong or to tell you how their feeling. Staying curious allows you to problem-solve with a student or within a classroom to ensure needs are met, skills are being developed and curriculum is still on going.
When we say creativity, we’re not talking about coming up with good fine motor craft projects (although, it doesn’t hurt). We’re talking about creativity in leadership and classroom management. Simply saying, “Class, turn your listening ears on,” probably won’t cut it. But getting your class to help co-create a call and response gets their buy-in on following the rules? Now that’s a great way to get eyes on you. For example, “Chase is….ON THE CASE!” is way more fun.
Interacting with students is just the first layer of interpersonal connections you’ll have as an early educator. You’ll be dealing with parents, caregivers, social workers, other teachers, the list goes on and on. Being able to connect and interact with others in a kind, respectful way ensures that, at the end of the day, the child gets the loving care, support and education they need to thrive in their lives.
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