Early years practitioner
The early years are children aged up to five, the first few years of a child’s life are the most important and should not be handled carelessly as they are the fundamental foundation that shapes children’s future health, happiness, growth, development, and learning achievement in school, homes, the community and in life generally, that means for you to become an early years practitioner you must be committed to supporting children as this is very important for them to develop mentally, socially and emotionally.
Working as an early years practitioner gives you the chance to support children as they learn and developmentally ,socially, and emotionally as they prepare for school, its a career part that could see you becoming self-employed, working in education, or can help you become a better version of yourself as you are impacting life hence making a difference in your local community. If you enjoy working with children, or you want to combine a new career of caring for your family or impacting society the early years could be for you.
Roles of an early years practitioner
An early years practitioner is someone who works with young children up to the age of five years in schools, nursery, or any child care environment, your roles and responsibility as an early year practitioner includes;
- Encouraging learning and development through play and teaching.
- Creating a safe and secure environment using imagination to help children to learn.
- Reading stories and helping children learn number skills
- Enabling children to build their literacy, language, and numeracy skills.
- Observe children’s progress and keep records to share with parents
- Feeding and changing babies, and supervising meals of older children
- Working with parents to support their children’s development.
- Putting together the activity which will keep the children engaged throughout the day.
- Helping the children to be more independent when carrying out daily activities.
- Monitoring children’s progress and planning educational games.
- Making sure children are safe and reporting any concerns
- Helping the children to get ready for the transition into a classroom environment.
Types of early years practitioner
Many different roles fit under the umbrella of ‘the early years, and as more and more parents are going back to work rather than staying at home, there has been more demand for childcare. Early years practitioners can work in the following areas:
- Early years teacher: An early years teacher works with children aged 3-5. Tasks include planning lessons and activities and creating learning resources. You could be working in a children’s centre, or a nursery. If you do want to work in a school, you will first need to gain qualified teacher status (QTS).
- Pre-school junior Educators: Preschool juniors educators help the lead teacher manage a classroom of children aged 3-5. They have a more educational focus which helps to prepare the children for school.
- Nanny: A nanny looks after other people’s children in their home. You could work as a nanny only during the day, or live in the home of a family. As a nanny, you’ll be responsible for providing meals, and planning activities and tasks like keeping toys tidy.
- Childminder: Childminders look after children at home. Childminding is a varied job, with flexible hours, which could involve looking after under-fives during the day and caring for older children when they aren’t at school.
- Working in a nursery: Nurseries can be run by councils, privately, or in schools, colleges, or businesses. Qualifications are essential to building a career in a nursery environment. In a group, a manager must hold at least a Level 3 qualification and at least half of all other childcare staff must hold a Level 2 qualification.
Skills you need to become an early years practitioner
If you plan to secure a career in early years education, you will need to be:
- Committed to working with children: Working with children is not for everyone, so if you plan to work in the early years, you must enjoy being around children and be dedicated to child development.
- Patient: Working in this environment isn’t so easy so you must be equipped to deal with children misbehaving and having tantrums. You must also have the patience and enthusiasm to handle these situations calmly and effectively, without getting angry or wound up.
- In touch with your inner child: Those who work with young children have to be able to see the world through a child’s eyes. Willingness to get involved with messy activities such as sticking and painting is essential. Imagination and silliness will also come in handy.
- Creative: Early years practitioners must have lots of ideas and strategies to make learning fun. Creatively thought-out lessons and activity plans will help you to communicate your thoughts in a simple way that children can understand.
- Good interpersonal skills: Building positive relationships with parents is something that you will need to be good at communicating and working together, you can make sure a child is happy, healthy, and gets all of the support they need physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally both from you and at home.
Courses you can offer to become an early years practitioner
Depending on your ambitions, you may choose to study different early years courses. Early years related courses include;
- Caring for children and young people CACHE Level 2
- Parenting Skills in the Early Years Course
- Access to Higher Education Diploma (Education) Early Years Pathway
- Diploma for early years workforce CACHE Level 3 (RFQ) (NVQ)
- Preparing to Work in Home Based Childcare CACHE Award Level 3 (RFQ)
- ChildMinder (CACHE Level 3)
Benefits of becoming an early years practitioner
There are many advantages of being an early years practitioner. You may decide to do this job because:
Every day will be different
When you work with children, your workdays will be packed with surprises and bursting with new challenges. Unlike a standard office job, you will never be able to complain about being bored!
It is rewarding
Working as an early years practitioner is rewarding because you will be able to see children learn, develop and grow in your care. These developments will be a direct effect of your hard work. What is more rewarding than that?
Make a real different
The fact that you can impact and change a child’s life for the better each day is the joy of it all
When you work in the early years of education, hours are often flexible. This is because the hours need to fit around the parent’s schedules. This means that you might good work-life balance and you can also have time to bond with your family not to mention the benefit of having summers breaks
A Community of Educators
Within your early year settings, you will work alongside many qualified educators fostering an environment of creativity, professionalism, and sharing, you will have the opportunity to be part of a vibrant learning community
A fresh start every day
Because you will most likely have an entirely new group of students each Fall, you will find that each new school year holds different joys and challenges. You will most likely find that within the field of education, you will never be bored
A Dynamic Field
Trends in education are constantly changing, so if you’re a person who enjoys adapting and growing over time, then you’ll be well-suited for continuously learning about and incorporating new trends in the field of teaching