What Every Early Childhood Education Major Should Know

What Every Early Childhood Education Major Should Know
The Editorial Team March 8, 2013

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Preparing for a career in early childhood education can be incredibly exciting. A bachelor in education program includes classes that teach you the ins and outs of child development, educational strategies, working with special needs children, and family issues.

Three things early childhood education majors should know about teaching

What do early childhood education majors need to know as they start out on this rewarding career? Here are some aspects of the field to take into consideration.

1. Early childhood education teachers have a long-term impact on their students

Studies have shown that students enrolled in early childhood learning programs are more successful in high school and college. In fact, the HighScope Perry Preschool Study found that individuals who had been enrolled in quality preschool programs earned around $2,000 more per year than those who started school later. This study also reported that people who attend preschool programs were more likely to maintain high grades, graduate from high school, and even to stay married longer than others.

Though these are just statistics, the real impact of early childhood education majors goes far deeper than numbers on charts and tables. Each teacher can make a huge difference in a child’s life in both the present and future.

2. Classroom teaching is a skill that only improves with hands-on experience

The actual teaching experience tends to be exponentially more complex and multifaceted than anything education students find in a classroom. Even the most well-organized, well-developed bachelor’s of education program can only go so far to prepare future educators to be the best teachers they can be–but they provide a good starting point.

3. Personality matters

Experienced preschool and kindergarten teachers know that it’s not enough to have a grasp of subject matter and educational techniques. Education majors–especially those specializing in early childhood learning–need more than a bachelor in education for success in their future careers.

Obviously, it’s vital to love being around children. But there’s even more to it than that. Education majors need to cultivate a love for teamwork, creativity, and patience. All of these elements will be absolutely essential in a future classroom. Part of this comes naturally as part of an individual’s personality; the rest is grown through experience and information about the educational process.

What to look for in an early childhood education program

Just as teachers make an incredible difference in students’ lives, college professors and quality programs can make or break an educational experience for those preparing for a job in teaching. Here are a qualities to look for when exploring early childhood education degree programs.

Approved by your state department of education

This is essential if you want to teach at public or even some private schools. You can find out what type of accreditation a program has achieved by visiting the department of education website in the state where you live.

NAEYC accreditation

Is the program accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children? Though this type of accreditation is not necessarily essential, its stamp of approval indicates a solid educational program for teacher preparation.

Admission requirements

What grades, courses, and tests are required before you can be admitted to the program? For most programs, prospective students just need a transcript from their high schools and any college transcripts they have on hand from previous experience. The competition for admission to each school varies; some will expect applicants to have higher grades than others.

Once an early childhood education major understands what they can expect from their degree program and prospective career, they can make decisions on the best path for the future.

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