written by: Kara Bietz•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 4/14/2011
Considering a career in early childhood education? While a career in early learning is not for everyone, the benefits are many. This article explores the professional as well as the personal perks of teaching preschool.
slide 1 of 4
Early Childhood Education as a Profession
Making the choice to pursue a career in early childhood education is not something that should be entered into lightly. Just like most professions, it takes a special skill set and a level of patience and confidence that not all possess. Loving children is a good start, but it cannot be the only reason you enter into this demanding, yet extremely rewarding career.
Early childhood education is a family friendly career choice, and this is one of the most obvious perks of teaching preschool. There are several other positive aspects to choosing a career in early childhood education, many that you would never expect.
Child Care Benefits: If you are a parent with a preschool age child, many programs and schools will allow your child to attend the school at a free or reduced rate. This can save hundreds and, in some cases, thousands in child care expenses over the course of a year. Another child care benefit is that your child will be in the same building with you during the day. If there is a problem or a question, you will only be a phone call and a short walk down the hall away. Also, you will get a chance to know the other teachers in the center very well, meaning that you will probably know your child's teacher better than any of the other parents in the classroom. This allows for easier communication, as well as professional respect.
Professional Growth: Many schools and child care centers offer on-site training in order to keep teachers motivated and up on the current trends in early childhood education. Often, these trainings and classes can be used for professional credit and can count towards the yearly training hours required by every state. Many centers operate under a hierarchical system. This means that there may be an assistant teacher, a teacher, a lead teacher, a group leader, a curriculum specialist, an assistant director and a director all working under the same roof. You may be able to begin your teaching career as an assistant and move through the ranks to become a curriculum specialist, if you continue to work for the same company. Many schools and centers will offer an incentive program for teachers wanting to further their education and move into a higher position.
slide 3 of 4
In addition to those perks and benefits that can be measured, there are several personally rewarding perks to choosing a career in early childhood education. While these things can't always be measured, they are certainly worth the effort of putting your best foot forward when teaching preschool.
Personal Feeling: There is nothing in the world like being present for a child's "Aha!" moment. As a preschool teacher, you will be present for many Aha! moments. If you choose to stay with a group of children from infancy through pre-Kindergarten, the feeling and connection you will have for those children will be unsurpassed. You will become as much a part of their every day lives as they will become in yours. Watching a child mature from a curious toddler to a confident pre-kindergartener is probably one of the most underrated perks of being a preschool teacher!
Exercise: There is no time for rest when you are a teacher for young children! In order to keep up and connect with your class, you will probably be doing a lot of moving, bending, running, hopping, skipping and laughing. While it may not look like traditional exercise, you will certainly be burning some calories!
Creativity: The best preschool activities are born when children's curiosity meets with a teacher's creativity. As a preschool teacher, you will be asked to think outside of the box on many different occasions. If there is a difficult concept you are trying to teach, you will be forced to look at it from many different angles. Teaching preschoolers is like a crash course in personal creativity!
While it is not always easy, the perks of teaching preschool are many. If you choose to pursue a career in early childhood education, know that you are about to enter into one of the most personally rewarding professions out there!
Author's personal classroom experience
"Early Childhood Program Management"; Barbara J. Taylor; 1993