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Learning Guide

Article

How to Become an Early Childhood Educator

If you are creative and love helping young children, early childhood education (ECE) is just the right career for you. The focal point of early childhood education has shifted radically in the last two decades. The growing awareness of the significance of pre-kindergarten experiences has resulted in an increase in the number of children in pre-kindergarten programs. This, in turn, dramatically amplified the job opportunities for early childhood or preschool educators.

The Child Care Human Resources Sector Council has identified a glaring shortage of trained ECE employees in Canada. Their data shows that there was a cumulative shortage of 24,766 ECE workers between 2001 and 2007. In 2007, the shortage was highest in Quebec (1,400) and Ontario (1,000). Across Canada, there were 4,802 ECE workers still needed to fill available positions that year.

The demand for ECE workers grew by 40% between 2000 and 2007, compared to 15% for all occupations

Your Day-to-Day Tasks will Include:
    * Plan daily programmes and routines based on play and hands-on activities, the primary means for which would be music,    artwork, films, books, and increasingly, computers
    * Educate and care for babies and children, working one on one or in groups
    * Evaluate and record the learning and improvement of each child
    * Organize workshops and discuss children’s progress with their parents or caregivers
    * Create or adapt learning resources by stimulating children’s imagination and problem-solving, using objects such as building    blocks, clay or puzzles, along with rhyming games, art and crafts, and role playing.

What Do I need to Start with?
The minimum requirements for enrolling in an Early Childhood Educator’s program are:
    * Secondary School Diploma or equivalent, or mature student status
    * Grade 12 English (ENG4C or ENG4U)
    * Three Grade 11 or Grade 12 C, U or M courses

What Will I Study?
Community and career colleges, such as Everest College of Business, Technology and Health Care, Evergreen College and Oulton College, offer degrees and diplomas in childhood education. Many of them offer accelerated class schedules, so you can get trained and enter the workforce in under a year.

What Else Do I Need?
While not all institutions demand a degree in early childhood education to work with young kids, many do insist on some specialized training.

Where The Jobs Are?
Training in early childhood education might help you get in:
    * Daycare centres
    * Preschools
    * Kindergartens
    * Specialty schools, such as Montessori or religious schools
    * Elementary schools
    * Within these settings, you can specialize in teaching the gifted or disabled, or in disadvantaged communities

Bilingual education is also a growing requirement in early childhood education, as the student base expands. Bilingual teachers and those eligible to teach English as a second language can augment their career opportunities by using their skills at schools that offer programs for non-English speaking students.

Click on a school name to learn more:
Briercrest College and Seminary, CDI College, Centre for Arts and Technology, The King's University College