As a child begins to grow, an explosion of activity happens within the first five years of their life. During these early years, children’s brains develop faster than any other point in their life. Thus, it’s important for them to receive adequate early childhood education as it is critical for their growth.
Are you looking to be part of a child’s growth and have direct influence on them but don’t know how? If you absolutely love children and want to actively be part in their learning process and their future, you should definitely consider becoming a qualified Early Childhood Educator.
What is Early Childhood Education?
Early Childhood Education refers to education for infants, toddlers, and young children.
It focuses on developing children’s cognitive and learning skills, motor skills such as balance, and social-emotional growth. In general, Early Childhood Education are made up of:
- Infant or Baby: 0 to 1 years
- Toddler: 1 to 2 years
- Pre-school: 3 to 4 years
- Kindergarten: 5 to 6 years
These early years of a child’s life are extremely crucial. Many studies have also shown that children with a solid foundation in Early Childhood Education have increased IQ and test scores. It also helps little ones prepare and adapt for school and beyond!
What Do I Need To Become An Early Childhood Educator?
As of 2020, the Malaysian Ministry of Education has made it mandatory that all preschool teachers must possess a minimum qualification of a diploma in early childhood education. This shows that early childhood education is rapidly gaining importance amongst Malaysians.
A degree or a diploma in Early Childhood Education is usually 2 to 3 years long and once completed, the certificate can be used to start working immediately. In addition, candidates need to attend the Kursus Asuhan dan Didikan Awal Kanak-Kanak PERMATA if candidates wish to work with infants and toddlers. Make sure to always get your diploma or degree in ECCE from an institution accredited by the National Accreditation Board (LAN) and is approved by the Ministry of Higher Education.
An Early Childhood Education course will help candidates develop core knowledge on a child’s growth, learning styles and behaviour. Candidates will also learn various teaching styles and approaches and strategies to engage with children, such as play-based learning.
What Can I Really Expect as An Early Childhood Educator?
Of course, educating little children and toddlers feels rewarding but what should you really expect when you venture down this path?
You’re not going to get paid a lot.
Payscale.com reports that Preschool Teachers (but not Special Education) earns an average of RM17,849 annually which equals to an average of RM1,400 per month. Considering the living costs and expenses these days in Malaysia, that’s not a lot. It’s just enough to get by. Although in the future, it seems that maybe these numbers are going to increase but not exponentially as early childhood education gets more attention from parents. In the meantime, if a candidate chooses to venture down this path, you’re going to have to really love this job because it’s never going to be about the money.
Everyday is going to be physically demanding.
Toddlers and children are filled to the brim with energy. You’re going to have to bend down and up again several hundred times per week and carrying toddlers isn’t going to be good for you pelvic structure. Being a preschool teacher is a very physical demanding job and you’re going to want to take care of your health. Remember to regularly exercise, get a good night’s sleep, and eat healthy. Also don’t forget to utilise your leaves if you ever feel burnt out.
Every school isn’t the same.
When you’re not working for the money, it’s important to assess your own beliefs. Prior to applying as an educator at a preschool, study it’s environment and philosophy. Does it align with your teaching philosophy? Does the school appeal to you as a teacher? Are you going to be happy there? You’re going to want to make sure that you’re happy and content teaching at the school because money isn’t the main reason you signed up for this, it’s the rewarding feeling of seeing children grow up that is. Make sure to study various kinds of teaching and learning styles, philosophies and have your own opinion on early childhood education. This will greatly ease your search for the perfect school.
This article was first published on Kiddy123.com.
Written by Miriam Hedija
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