Early childhood teachers teach and care for young children in early childhood education facilities such as kindergartens, kohanga reo or education and care centres. If you are considering early childhood education training then you should expect to graduate as a well rounded individual equipped with the skills you need to care for young children. You should expect to gain a thorough foundation in theories of teaching and learning, child development, and working with children and families in New Zealand. Some of the activities and responsibilities you should expect to take on include planning daily programmes, learning experiences and routines and implementing Te Whariki, the early childhood curriculum.
You will educate and care for babies and children, working one to one or in groups as well as assessing and recording the learning and development of each child. Discussing children’s progress with their parents or caregivers, whanau and other education professionals and making or adapting learning resources is also another important role you would fulfil. It is important that you maintain the lines of contact with parents, caregivers and whanau so you will run workshops and attend social gatherings and huis. You will also take care of logistics such as preparing budgets, ordering supplies and helping manage the centre.
Early childhood teachers need to have teaching skills and knowledge of different teaching strategies and learning styles so they can provide a well-rounded education to the young children. Through an early childhood education training program you will gain knowledge about Te Whariki, the early childhood curriculum and knowledge of child learning and development and of early literacy and numeracy. Good communication skills and the ability to interact well with children and adults from a range of cultures are absolutely essential. Through the program you will also learn administration and report-writing skills, organisational, problem-solving and decision-making skills and you will have knowledge of first aid.
As an early childhood teacher there are certain personal qualities that need to be apparent such as the ability to be understanding and patient and firm but fair when situations get a little demanding. You also need to be creative, imaginative, resourceful, adaptable and able to make quick decisions. If you are focusing in working in a kohanga reo you need to be committed to the kohanga reo kaupapa. Being an early childhood educator can be an amazing job as you will have the skills and opportunity to help young children cultivate a love of learning and make a difference to their lives.