Early Childhood education ?
How do you prepare for college majoring in childhood education ? How can you manage your time wisely? How do you go about applying for childhood education jobs?
Laurie Pritchard, Ed. S., M.A.T.
A great way to prepare for majoring in Early Childhood Education is to get some experience working with young children so you can see if this is the best career choice for you. You can babysit for family and friends who have young children, which will give you an idea of the amount of work and patience that is required to work with little ones. Your high school may have a program where you can work as an aide in a nursery school, preschool, or in their before/after school childcare programs. Your town may have summer jobs in the parks and recreation department where you can work in summer camps. Depending on your age, you could get a part-time job at a daycare. Lots of options to explore a career in early childhood education.
Once you are certain this is the field for you, in college you will need to take courses in early childhood development, child psychology, educational philosophy, education methods, and many others. These courses will provide you with the knowledge you need to have to effectively work with young children. Your college will have a program schedule that you will be required to follow, with required classes and electives.
Certainly you will need to manage your time to get your homework done, study for tests, and other life commitments. It will be a challenge, but it will be worth it!
To manage your time effectively, create a detailed plan with goals for each quarter, semester, or year. List the necessary steps and estimated time for each, forming your base plan. Add steps and track time to evaluate your daily, weekly, and monthly needs. At first, this might seem tedious and challenging, but as you work with your system, estimating time for various tasks becomes easier, resulting in more accurate timelines and expectations.
Regarding your education, if your chosen program doesn't focus on childhood development, consider taking extra courses to supplement your knowledge. As an elementary teacher, understanding developmental stages helped me tailor my instruction and make recommendations for additional support for my students.
When applying for an education job, follow the same process as with any other job. Craft a strong resume and cover letter, collect recommendation letters from past employers and program instructors, and prepare a lesson outline adaptable to different age levels for interviews. Apply to your desired organizations as soon as you're ready and continue applying while searching for a new position.
Best of luck! Early childhood education is a gratifying field. The effort and time you invest in children are not only personally rewarding but are also a valuable contribution to our communities and future generations.