Skills You Need to Advance In Early Childhood Education
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” -- Albert Einstein
With childcare ranked among the country’s fastest-growing occupations and the federal government heavily invested in early learning -- through programs that include Preschool for All and Race to the Top -- it’s apparent that providing quality education requires a more educated workforce. Everyone from daycare workers to teachers will need to expand their skill set in order to make an impact on a younger generation.
That is what’s driving so many who already work in the industry to pursue degrees in early childhood education, according to Dr. Jessica Alvarado, chair of Ashford University’s Early Childhood Education department.
“The Bachelor’s and Master's programs offer many opportunities for students to gain practical knowledge to immediately apply to their careers,” Alvarado said in an interview with Forward Thinking. “The program allows for students to apply their school work to real-life situations as they continue to grow in the profession.”
The ability to apply gained knowledge immediately to your career is not the only benefit.
“Students improve their academic skills, while learning new technology programs and how to use theory, strategies, and child development principles in their current and future work with children and families,” Alvarado added.
While college may not be a requirement for all childcare workers, a degree can prove vital for those wishing to grow in the industry, and also show initiative on the part of the employee.
“Many centers and schools look to promote teachers who are working to grow professionally, and earning a degree is often considered to show substantial effort,” Alvarado said. “In addition, many [workers] dream of opening their own child development centers or daycares. Having a degree offers families comfort in knowing the owner/director has a foundation in early childhood education and will likely be knowledgeable in child development, learning strategies, etc.”
Alvarado also noted that a college education instills a number of intangible qualities that employers find desirable. It’s expected that someone pursuing a career in education will have a passion for working with children or families, but many need to be taught how to focus that passion effectively.
“They must have patience, understanding, and respect all with whom they work,” she said. “Teachers need to be flexible and be willing to try new strategies, even when they think they’ve tried it all.”
Written by Jason R. Latham, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education