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Q&A With an Early Childhood and Primary Education Student

We spoke to:

Who: Kate Taylor

Studying: Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary) at Charles Sturt University

 

Why did you pick Early Childhood Education (Early Childhood and Primary)?

I liked the course because you walk out of the degree qualified to teach children from birth to age 12 as an early childhood or as a primary school teacher – so you’ve got two career options. I also knew that they would organise my placements for me.

 Of the two careers, which do you think you’ll pick?

I love them both, but I think I’ll start in early childhood. That’s the good thing about this degree though, that I can always go into primary later.

Why did you pick Early Childhood Education?

Research has shown children who attend

 

By the time they reach primary school their literacy, numeracy and communication skills are more advanced, and they are able to focus, and problem solve.

I love the huge impact that you can have on a child’s development. 90% of brain development happens by the time a child turns five, so that small window for learning is really important.

What’s your advice for someone deciding if they should go into early education or not?

I think you need to deepen your understanding of why you are considering teaching. It has to be more than just ‘I just love kids’.

What would you love about teaching this age group? Are you interested in helping them build social skills and discovery skills; or do you want to help them

 

What does a child learn between 3 and 5 that is important?

You will lay foundations for core skills that can last a lifetime. Research has shown children who attend quality early childhood education are more confident and able to manage their emotions. By the time they reach primary school their literacy, numeracy and communication skills are more advanced, and they are able to focus, and problem solve.

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What is a misconception about the industry?

It’s not just ‘playing’ with children. It’s about building up a child’s language, developing them through story-telling, role-play – singing – that kind of thing. You are trying to help develop a child’s motor skills and social skills through experience learning.

So part of the job is about observing students and identifying those struggling to meet milestones and then discussing that progress with their parents.

Give me an example of ‘experience learning’ – what does this look like?

You could spent time on the floor helping some children construct a tower using lego pieces with a picture as a guide. You would see how they go following the picture without instructions from you, and how they work in a team or worth with others. If they are struggling you could do something called “scaffolding” where I’d give small verbal prompts.

What is a challenge in your job?

Applying certain behaviour management skills with children can be really hard. They might ignore you when you ask them to pack up or lie down for a sleep.

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