Early childhood education refers to the teaching of children not exceeding eight years. At this stage, the child acquires useful knowledge that determines who they become/ their future role in society. Early childhood educators, therefore, have a great role to play in positively influencing society. This paper is a reflection on Early Childhood educators regarding their societal role, standing, and their influence in society.
Role as an Early Childhood Educator
As an ECE, I consider myself the building block in learning. The foundation I lay in a child’s learning will influence their lifelong education and learning. Research indicates that children who are not well introduced to ECE lag behind in the whole of their academic life. Children develop their life skills (full range) before they are five years old (Jayachandran & Dean, 2019). These skills are passed onto the children by early childhood educators. Other roles played by early childhood educators include the following:
- They facilitate group activities to promote collaborative skills;
- They inspire children so that they explore their areas of interest;
- They develop activities that arouse the children’s cognitive skills;
- They ensure a good learning environment;
- Their interaction with children nurtures the children in many ways.
Contribution of Early Childhood Education (ECE) to the Community
Early Childhood Educators are expected to conform to certain set standards. The purpose of setting these standards is to ensure accountability of the educators and effective learning. An example of a set standard in ECE is the instruction language which must be appropriate, simple, guiding, and common across, among other aspects. Proper instructional language, for instance, contributes to effective learning. When educators conform to set standards, the greatest beneficiary is the learner.
The ECE teaching and learning process benefit not only the learner but the educator as well. An educator is a civilized individual who makes varied contributions to the well-being of society. According to standard 6a, the educator is an advocate for not only the children but also families and education as a profession. Advocacy for education and individual rights may propel educators to community spokespersons, community educators, or even political seats/aspirations where the set laws allow them to. For instance, I have been awarded the role of ‘children welfare advocate’ in my local community.
My Professional Growth
Although individuals may have the intellectual ability to handle ECE content, there are unique qualities/traits an early childhood educator must have. The qualities may be acquired during training or in the course of practicing. According to standard 6b, the educator must be aware of and uphold ethical and other early childhood professional guidelines. Further, 6c states that the educator should use professional communication skills and technology mediation to support children’s learning and development and to work with families and colleagues. I must admit that when I entered this profession, I lacked many of these aspects but engagement in the profession has seen me grow, as discussed in the subsequent paragraphs.
When I started handling the young children, I did not know how to communicate with them effectively. Many times I could get fatigued by their restlessness, including the extent I could go to make them learn; I did not enjoy the job. Over time, I have grown immensely and can now understand the children’s actions and how to treat them/make them learn. I must admit that the theoretical knowledge acquired during training does not necessarily make a good teacher but rather the actual experience with the children and the passion the educator has.
An educator with passion will strive to make learning more effective and enjoyable for the children. Although I have been integrating technology, for instance, simulations, videos, and pictures, in the teaching-learning process, I feel I have not fully exploited the potential of this learning resource. I want, in the future, to increase the integration of these technologies in learning, although time allocation is a limiting factor. At the moment, I appreciate the fact that my learners and parents recognize my efforts to make learning effective through the integration of information technology (IT). Particularly, the recognition by my parents has given me a good standing in my local community. My effective teaching, as witnessed in a good performance in assessments, will contribute to increased community literacy and inventions.
Connection to Community Life
Communities benefit more when their leaders are empathetic, aggressive, and visionary. Empathy will make a leader develop the urge to create solutions to community problems. On the other hand, aggressiveness will lead them to want to create faster solutions, while vision will make them develop plans to achieve the set targets (Cragg & Spurgeon, 2018). As an educator, I have developed greater empathy and vision to make my learners achieve, and I feel I have what it takes to enter into community leadership, where I will practice these skills to help the community. I will, in the future, contest in political seats so I can help my community. I have created trust by members of my immediate community, more so the children’s parents, and I trust they can support me in my political contest.
Early childhood educators play an important role in the holistic development of the child. It is important that these educators are facilitated to enable them to deliver. If a more civilized, more sophisticated, more inventive society is to be created, then ECE must be taken seriously. The educators, in the course of handling the children, develop desirable traits which can be transferred to the political leadership to benefit society.
Cragg, R., & Spurgeon, P. (2018). Competencies of a good leader. In How to Succeed as a Leader (pp. 33-40). CRC Press.
Jayachandran, S., & Dean, J. (2019). The Impact of Early Childhood Education on Child Development in Karnataka, India. Web.