Do you love being and working with children? Have you thought about channeling that love into a career in early childhood education? If so, then you’ve probably wondered about what it takes to be a successful preschool educator. Naturally, you’d like to be the sort of teacher who can ensure that their young students’ first steps into the school system will be enjoyable, meaningful, and productive ones.
One thing that aspiring early childhood teachers should be aware of is that people who become these sort of educators frequently have a long-term impact on the students they handle. Multiple studies have shown, for instance, that children enrolled in early learning programs have more successful academic careers when they reach high school and university. Study participants who received early childhood education were also more likely to make good grades, graduate from high school, and go on to have successful careers than their peers who did not have the same privilege.
With the potentially life-changing impact of early childhood education in mind, it’s important for would-be teachers to be aware of the skills, knowledge, and attitudes they need for a successful career. If you’re interested in working at an early childhood education Singapore school, the following signs are especially helpful indicators that you’ll be a good fit for the job:
You’ve Worked Extensively with Children
A love for children is an obvious requirement to be an effective preschool teacher, but to teach them effectively, you especially need direct experience with them—and lots of it. You might get this experience from being a parent yourself, looking after younger siblings and other family members, babysitting, volunteering in your community, or other similar activities. Whatever your particular experiences with kids, it’s imperative that you’re familiar with both the rewards and the challenges of working with them long before you step into the classroom.
Children benefit from being given specific routines to follow and even from setting these routines themselves with guidance from their elders. However, it’s important for teachers to be aware that no day on the job will be exactly the same as the one before. You’ll have days when your students are attentive, energetic, and genuinely excited to learn, just as you’ll have days when nothing you try in the classroom seems to stick. Understanding how preschool-aged kids operate and how to deal with them will help you navigate any problems you encounter while making the most of the high points.
While any kind of teaching requires creativity, it’s an especially important skill for early childhood educators to have, as preschool-aged children need lots of help staying focused on their daily tasks. According to child development experts, children’s attention spans will generally be around 4-6 minutes at 2 years old and increase around 2-3 minutes per year thereafter. This figure may vary depending on external factors like a child’s energy levels or their interest in the task at hand. Nevertheless, it goes without saying that preschool teachers oftentimes need to find imaginative ways to keep their students engaged.
Hence, if you enjoy taking creative approaches to education, like decorating a classroom or devising a broad array of group projects for students to do, then you’ll fit right in at a preschool. Most preschool teachers don’t prepare just a single set of classroom activities but also have multiple backup plans. While some people might find this approach burdensome, it’s also an opportunity for creative individuals to shine. Watching a student devote themselves enthusiastically to a task they previously found boring can also be immensely rewarding.
You Have a Lot of Patience
If you’ve ever interacted with children at length, you’re probably already well aware that patience is one of the most important qualities you need to have when dealing with kids. Preschool teachers must set expectations for appropriate behavior in the classroom and participation in school activities, and they should also compassionately guide their students in line with these expectations. Having a clear idea of what’s expected of them academically and socially will not only help children achieve more in the classroom but also grow more confident in the process.
Patience is especially important for preschool teachers because younger children are still learning their way around social norms. They may need to be reminded multiple times that they should and shouldn’t do something, or that a particular action is only appropriate at a certain time. They may interrupt class discussions and ask questions at seemingly inconvenient moments. A teacher’s job is not to punish their students but to manage these moments constructively.
You Approach Life with Enthusiasm
Children generally respond positively to someone who engages them on their same levels of energy and enthusiasm. They can also always tell when an adult is distracted, disinterested, or not fully mentally present when interacting with them. If you’re the sort of person who’s passionate about the things you do and has no qualms with showing that passion, then you’ll be well-equipped to create a positive learning environment for preschool-aged kids. Your enthusiasm for children, learning, and teaching will definitely shine through to your students and their parents.
While the above attitudes may come naturally to certain individuals, they can also be cultivated through conscious effort, practice, and study. Becoming a good preschool teacher is a continuous process of learning, so it’s best to think of these traits as first steps in the right direction.