There are many misconceptions about what early childhood education involves. While some may still believe it is nothing more than glorified babysitting, the reality is preschool classrooms have evolved considerably over the years. What was once viewed as being nothing more than daycare is now viewed as an academic setting where child development and learning is front and center.
The early learning foundation is much more than simply mastering basic motor skills. It is also the time where children learn social-emotional skills, develop better cognitive ability, and start to hone their critical thinking. When early childhood education is done successfully, it sets a strong foundation for a child’s academic future.
If you have a passion for working with children and a creative mindset for helping children learn and develop, then consider earning a degree in early childhood education to become a teacher. It takes a special kind of person to teach preschool, but the rewards are tremendous.
How Teaching Preschoolers Differs from Elementary Students
While there are some similarities that all teachers share, teaching a classroom full of energetic preschoolers requires a unique set of skills. While elementary teachers work with children ages five to approximately twelve or thirteen, early childhood educators work with students who are much younger-between the ages of three to five. As you can imagine, there is a significant difference between the age groups, so you must adapt your teaching methodologies accordingly.
Children are Capable Learners
We now know that young children at this age are capable of so much learning. They have the brain power, but they lack the social emotional skills, attention span, and capacity to learn for long durations at a time. The key to being a successful early childhood educator is figuring out how to address these needs while still producing awesome results.
Create Innovative and Engaging Lessons
The first step in addressing the challenges of teaching preschool aged children is to utilize creativity when planning the curriculum. Lessons need to be fun and engaging, like they are learning but don’t even realize it. Children love to play and make messes, and fortunately preschool is full of opportunities to get messy and creative. Art projects are an essential component to any preschool classroom. Quality preschool programs feature lessons involving singing, dancing, clapping, and other fun engaging activities that help children develop fine motor skills. Creative learning is critical in a child’s overall development.
Match Teaching Styles to Learning Styles
Each child learns differently. Some prefer to look at pictures while others prefer listening. Some children need to move and explore. Therefore, it is essential for early childhood educators to understand different learning and teaching styles to benefit all their students. For example, you can engage the entire class by providing visuals, telling stories, and offering activities that explore the curriculum your students need to learn.
Incorporating Technology in the Classroom
Educators today have a wealth of technology at their fingertips. The attitude towards using technology in the classroom is changing for the positive. Preschool teachers understand how to use technology to enhance and engage young students. When used properly, technology is a powerful and effective learning tool for early childhood educators to utilize.
Calling on Passionate People Like You
We need teachers who are up for the challenge, understand how to use technology to benefit learning in the classroom, and are passionate about teaching. If this sounds like you, contact Athena Career Academy to learn more about where a career in early childhood education can take you.