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NEWSLETTER

Volume 14 / Issue 17 / April 17


What Are the Duties of an Early-Childhood Teacher?

An early-childhood teacher works with students who are between 3 and 5 years old. In general, she engages children in a variety of activities that are developmentally appropriate and looks out for each child's well-being. However, the early childhood teacher has many other duties that she must fulfill to be successful in her role.

Develop Schedules and Enforce Routines

Young children need to follow a strict schedule that includes daily routines, such as going to the restroom, washing hands, eating lunch and snack, and participating in reading, math, science and music activities. Daily routines and activities keep the children occupied and productive and help them learn to function in a structured environment. In addition, an early-childhood teacher must develop a schedule that also allows for rest time and unstructured outside play.

Plan and Implement Lessons

An early-childhood teacher recognizes that the 3- to 5-year-old child's learning occurs through both play and structured experiences that help develop the children's language, motor and social skills. She plans lessons that allow for teacher-initiated and child-initiated exploration. The teacher works with groups of children or one-on-one, depending on the type of lesson and the learners' needs.


Maintain a Safe and Comfortable Environment

An early-childhood teacher inspects the children's environment to ensure the safety of equipment and materials. She removes or repairs any items that pose a threat to the children. She also fosters a safe and comfortable environment through clear, positive and encouraging words and actions to help the children feel comfortable and confident within their surroundings.

Observe and Communicate

Observing the children's behavior and making notes is important so an early-childhood teacher can assess the progress of her students' development. She communicates her observations to the children's parents at regular intervals. If she becomes concerned about a child, she communicates with the parent immediately.


Provide Age-Appropriate Supervision and Discipline

Diligently supervising students in the classroom, during snacks and lunch, on the playground and during field trips, is another duty of an early-childhood teacher. If she needs to leave -- even momentarily -- she must find another responsible employee to watch the children. When children misbehave or otherwise break the rules, she disciplines the children in a firm but fair way. The teacher never resorts to any form of physical, verbal or emotional abuse as a method of discipline.

Develop Schedules and Enforce Routines

Early-childhood teachers must strive to address cultural or special needs -- emotional, physical or educational -- of the children they teach. For example, if a child has a food allergy, the teacher must be aware of the content of the food the child is offered or is eating. Additionally, if a child belongs to a culture or religion that doesn't allow her to celebrate certain holidays, the teacher must respect the child's background and arrange for an alternative activity for the child.


Qualities of a Good Teacher in Early Childhood Development

A degree in early childhood development gives teachers the skills they need to help every child learn. This education in proven theories and practices is the building block on which to base lesson plans that will help each child achieve. Practically speaking, however, teachers of young children need to possess or hone certain qualities that will enable them to work with and motivate young children, while finding the joy and success in each and every day.

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Enthusiasm for Children

According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the most important characteristic for teachers of early childhood development is enthusiasm and passion for children. This goes well beyond enjoying being will children. It means wanting to make a difference to each and every child. Teachers must have the drive to unlock every child's door to learning, overcoming any obstacle a child may have.

Respect of Differences

Every child comes to school with a unique personality and learning style. To reach each child and teach each child effectively, teachers must respect these differences and work with each child's style, rather than try to force the child to adapt to another style. In our global society, teachers must also be prepared for multicultural classrooms with many ethnicities, cultures and traditions represented. A classroom where these differences are not merely tolerated but are welcomed and embraced creates an open and exciting learning atmosphere.


Patience and Humor

Working with young children all day takes huge measures of patience. The nature of their age makes young children rambunctious, with short attention spans and little self-control. Every child is different, too, making the job even more challenging. After a long, tiring day full of challenges, teachers of young children must come back and meet the same and new challenges the next day. A patient nature, combined with a sense of humor, helps teachers take the ups and downs of every day in stride, while focusing on the end goals.

Creativity and Flexibility

Observing the children's behavior and making notes is important so an early-childhood teacher can assess the progress of her students' development. She communicates her observations to the children's parents at regular intervals. If she becomes concerned about a child, she communicates with the parent immediately.


Communication Skills

Teachers need to have learned effective skills for working with young children and for communicating with them at their level. Then teachers need to be able to communicate with the child's parents about his needs, skills, problems and achievements, so both parties can help the child without undue emotion. On a daily basis, the teacher must communicate with other teachers who may teach her class, as well as the school principal and other administrators. The more effectively the teacher can communicate to all involved -- both orally and in writing -- the more rewarding and positive her job will be.