Early Childhood Education and Care
There are many benefits to studying Early Childhood Education and Care in Australia, but is this the right study path for you? Aside from considering your English Level and communication skills, or whether to choose a Vocational course or enrol directly in a Bachelor, there are more factors to consider. Ask yourself the following questions, and you might just be inspired to take the plunge (or not).
1. What is my preferred career path?
Your chosen career path will determine what kind of course to enrol in. As an Early Childhood Education and Care graduate, you will have many options for employment and further study. With a Certificate III, you can be an Early Childhood educator, family day care worker, playgroup supervisor, nanny, outside-school hours care assistant, recreation assistant and similar. With the Diploma, you have all the above options, plus Early Childhood Centre assistant manger or manager. Finally, with a Bachelor in Education (Early Years) you will get access to teaching positions in kindergarten and primary school.
2. Am I willing to study and work hard?
Studying Early Childhood Education and Care can be quite demanding in terms of workload. Aside from attending 20 contact hours, you will also be responsible for completing all your homework and assessments. If English is not your first language, this might be even more difficult. If you need any help with your assignments, your trainers are always available. As with everything in life, if you are hard-working and prepared to challenge yourself, you will be successful.
3. Am I patient?
Working with children can be extremely rewarding, but it also requires much patience. Days can be exhausting as you plan, feed, play, mediate, clean up, organise, and more. You must be flexible and able to place yourself in the children’s “shoes”. At a young age, children struggle to separate from their parents. Their first interactions with other children can also be difficult. Sometimes children have emotional reactions, or struggle to communicate, especially when it comes to children with special needs. In all cases, you will need to make an effort to understand where the child is coming from and why he or she is behaving in a certain way.
4. Am I willing to receive feedback and criticism?
Being able to take feedback and criticism positively is a great skill to master in life. When it comes to Early Childhood Education and Care, you will receive plenty of feedback. Always ask questions and try not to take it personally, but rather use it as an opportunity to grow and improve. Once you graduate, you will be responsible for the care and safety of children from 0 to 5 years old. Then, you must be willing to deal with the opinions and suggestions of their parents, as well as your supervisors.
5. Can I keep my emotions in check?
As an Early Childhood worker, you will face many instances in which you may become emotional. Children will look up to you as a role model and confidante, and may talk about difficult experiences or traumas with you. In these instances, it is important to remain calm, to be able to help the child with a clear mind. It is OK to get emotional once you get home, but you should avoid doing so in front of the child. Practising this skill while in training will prove valuable during your work placement, as well as in the big wide world.