A career as a childcare worker can be a highly rewarding one. You get to support and nurture children at a pivotal time in their development, make a real difference in your community and also join a career path with a strong and growing demand around Australia.
In this article we’ll explore the vital role you could play, what this can look like in the day-to-day and how to become a childcare worker and educator.
The important role childcare educators play
As a childcare educator you could be providing one of the most valuable needs in society: educating and inspiring our next generation! You could be developing tailored learning opportunities and activities for young children in your care, guiding their development and encouraging their progress on their way to becoming school-ready. You are ensuring that children’s educational, nutritional and safety requirements are met, and supporting their social development too. Really – what could be more fulfilling?
What do childcare educators do?
Childcare education is an active, energising and creative career. No two days are ever the same, because the children you’re caring for and educating are learning new things about the world every day. Within our childcare centres in Victoria and NSW, here are the tasks and duties you could be regularly carrying out in your role.
Help children develop basic language and literacy skills
The right language building blocks are essential as children learn to read and write, and these skills provide so much benefit as they grow towards school age. In early childhood education you may be reading with children, playing with rhyme and rhythm, having back-and-forth conversations, sharing the meaning of new words and telling stories through books, music and play.
Help children develop basic numeracy skills
Just as important in life is the need to learn and understand the logic of numbers and maths. You could be supporting these skills through structured play activities, reading stories with numbers, playing counting games and songs, identifying patterns and supporting learning in problem-solving.
Help children develop social skills
Social skills can encompass things like speech and body language as well as sharing, respect, patience, empathy and listening. As an early childhood teacher you could be imparting and encouraging these skills in a myriad of ways, such as group activities, explanations, conversations, games and storytelling.
At Aurrum Kids we use a holistic approach to the early learning curriculum based on the Reggio Emilia philosophy and following the Early Years Learning Framework. This approach empowers the child to follow their natural curiosity, with guidance from educators supporting the development of their social, emotional, cognitive, physical, sensory, communication and independence skills. It’s a wonderful way to learn and to educate.
Help children develop motor and physical skills
Fine and gross motor skills are just as important to children’s development as literacy and numeracy. You may be helping children to develop these skills through experiences like dance and music, dressing, games and free play, colouring in, sorting and stacking and a variety of structured activities.
Help children develop a positive attitude to healthy eating
The right fuel is important for playing and learning! While our childcare centres have dietician-approved meals prepared, you will be involved in creating and delivering cooking/food preparation activities for our little ones. Our unique childcare nutrition program also includes a Playground to Plate approach, so you can help children learn about the importance of fresh food and a balanced diet through veggie and herb gardensat each centre.
Occasionally cleaning up after children
Learning and growing can be a vibrant, messy process! You’ll be helping children in your care to learn about personal hygiene, the value in tidying and how to sort and organise, and your role can involve a bit of tidying up. While we have professional cleaners attending to our beautifully modern centres, some light cleaning like putting toys away, washing toys and linen and keeping surfaces clean is of course a natural part of providing a safe and healthy learning environment for little ones to learn.
Communicating with parents
As children learn and develop, their families will naturally want to hear all about their progress. Part of a childcare educator role is to keep records of every child’s progress, behaviour and development and share this with parents, carers and other professionals as required. In this way and many more, you can consider yourself as an important part of the team for every child’s learning journey.
If this all sounds rewarding to you, you might be wondering how to become a childcare worker. So what do you need to get started, and which childcare educator qualifications are required?
What education is needed to become a childcare worker or educator? Childcare workers in Australia require a minimum Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care or equivalent/higher childcare educator qualifications. Some of our childcare educator workers have obtained their Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care, or their Bachelor of Early Childhood Education. You might also gain other childcare provider qualifications relevant to the role.
A Working with Children Check is required for anyone working with or educating children in NSW and Victoria. First Aid training is also recommended, and we can help to fund first aid, CPR and asthma & anaphylaxis training for our team members together with a comprehensive induction program.
Essential personal qualities
What qualities are important for a career working with young children? While our amazing childcare educators are all marvellously unique people in their own rights, we do look for some shared qualities in our team members. These include:
- Empathy and compassion
- Proactive planning
- Communication skills
Of course, we look for and value people with a genuine passion for early learning. This is because children benefit from carers and educators who are enthusiastic and inspired about what they do!
Ready to dive into a career in childcare education?
We are always looking for brilliant early learning educators for our childcare and preschool centres in Mornington, Ballarat and Penrith, and we offer a range of employee benefits to support and recognise our team members.