Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Aspiring to be a Kindergarten Teacher? What You should Expect

Kindergarten is the passage between a nursery school – for early childhood care, and a primary school – for the first three or four grades of formal education. It is an extremely important passage for kids, and therefore requires special skills from teachers who handle them.

Kindergarten teachers have practically the same responsibilities as other teachers. It is important for them to teach kids basic reading and writing skills, apart from showing them how to play happily with other kids and develop responsible classroom behavior.

A professional kindergarten teacher should have the capability to assess where each of her kids is emotionally and academically progressing in order to set realistic goals. With the exception of extracurricular activities of an art/music class, physical education, or lunch, all other lessons are normally given in the same classroom.

A day in a kindergarten school 

  1. Morning: Kindergarten teachers typically begin their day early by getting the classroom ready and fine-tuning the lessons of the day. They may guide kids to keep their things in place the moment they enter the classroom.
  2. Mid-Morning: By the time its mid-morning, the teacher may facilitate learning the lessons of the day in two ways: she may make the kids sit together in one big group taking the lead role herself; or she may, withdrawing into the background, make them take the lead role and work in smaller groups.
  3. Lunch: Kids are taken out for recess and lunch. While they are busy playing and eating, the teacher checks the homework, cleans up the classroom, and prepares lessons for the afternoon.
  4. Afternoon: Once the recess is over, the teacher may ask the kids to take a brief nap immediately after recess. Then the afternoon instruction begins.
  5. After kids leave school: Kindergarten teachers may have work to do after the children leave. This may involve calling parents, planning classroom activities and getting the materials ready for the following day, checking homework and meeting with school administrators for various purposes.
Licensing requirements

A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational qualification you need to become a kindergarten teacher. However, many states would be happy with you if you have completed a master’s degree, and they would reward you with a better salary.

If you want to teach in a public school, you are required further to obtain state certification that demonstrates you have the capability of teaching elementary school. This is normally done by attending certification classes, completing a practicum and taking standardized tests.

Areas of specialization

If you are desirous of becoming a kindergarten teacher, you have the same choices of specialization as for an elementary school teacher. You can complete as well additional training to teach art, music, or physical education. With a master’s degree in special education, you can be sure of getting better salaries and positions, as you will be able to teach the young kids with greater expertise.

Before getting the job of a kindergarten teacher, you may have to work as an intern in an educational institution. Internship would be a great way for you to gain experience while going to school for a certificate or a degree. All such training and experience will give you a head start when you begin your career as a kindergarten teacher.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

How You can Help Kids Develop Writing Skills

Early childhood education has very different expectations these days. Certain things remain all time constants, of course: parents look for an environment that can help their child develop independence, practice self-expression, and learn discipline. They expect teachers not only to identify and nurture their individual talents, but also help kids acquire the basics of interpersonal communication skills, responsible socio-cultural behavior and potentials for building successful careers. Here are some strategies suggested for you, as an early childhood educator, to help develop the writing skills of kids; these are an integral part of the core of early childhood education.

The objectives of developing writing skills

The main aim of developing written communication at every level is to help the children find their own voice and feel confident about taking independent personal and social responsibility. Home environment plays a big role when it comes to nurturing a child’s writing talent. Early childhood educators should find suitable methods to synchronize their work with parental involvement to ensure early writing development.

Guidelines for sharing work with parents

Early childhood educators should convince and get involved parents to help kids do at home the following.
  1. Recognize the shapes and sounds of letters and words as they read them out.
  2. Model the recognition of high-frequency sight expressions and words: help the little ones sound them out, and make use of illustrations to initiate the reading process.
  3. Form the habit of asking questions to link new vocabulary, series of texts and events to self development while reading a story.
Levels of writing development

A clear understanding of the following phases through which young minds learn to write can help educators monitor pupil readiness and progress.
  1. Scribbling and drawing: the development of writing begins with pictures. Scribbles and pictures are interchangeable. Kids at this level are not able to distinguish between the two, and are not proficient enough to associate print with meaning.
  2. Letter-like forms and letters: children start to repeat letters, normally from sighting their names written in print. They are not able to connect letters with the sounds, but are able to connect text with meaning.
  3. Beginning and salient sounds: inventive spelling happens during this stage. Children begin connecting words with letters they hear distinctively when words are read aloud.
  4. Starting and ending sounds: kids start to write with spaces in between words, and make use of less-salient letters in words.
Offering support at every writing stage

Given below are a few ideas for you.
  1. Scribbling and drawing: it is important to include writing into play. Let children sign into classrooms on a sheet or pad. Ask them about their drawings, and make them write their names on their work often.
  2. Letters: offer writing prompts within journals to help kids draw and write about items they see in the environment. Help them sound out letters in words. Also, encourage inventive spelling.
  3. Beginning and salient sounds: make use of writing prompts so as to incorporate ending and beginning sounds. Play activities should include single words. There should also be emphasis on journal writing, with attention to identifying and pronouncing starting and ending sounds.
  4. Ending and beginning sounds: Writing should start to incorporate patterns and word families. Encourage children to write simple sentences with the help of writing prompts. Make use of journal activities to challenge them in identifying middle sounds in words.
Remember, writing at all stages is foreign and an uphill task till the time it’s tried out and practiced. It is important for you to help young minds take ownership of and pride over their writing, as they begin gaining confidence with every writing milestone crossed.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Six Classroom Strategies for Early Childhood Education Teachers

There is no doubt that the face of education has dramatically changed over the years. Teachers work harder to equip their students with the skills required to succeed in life and their careers as well. However, apart from instilling students with the flexibility to adapt to the changing technologies, educators should foster learning environments that support creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, communication, social responsibility and global awareness. Here are six strategies that every early childhood education teacher should use to prepare their students for a wonderful future.

Integrated technology

Kids today are born in the age of the Internet. Most of them are technologically savvy. Therefore, to be able to connect with these kids better, educators should not lag behind. They have to learn to speak their language by becoming more aware of the technologies. Integrating technology basically means exploiting the interests of the child and strengthening their technical skills. In addition, the connectivity that comes with the use of the Internet makes it imperative for teachers to stress on the significance of Internet safety.

Cooperative learning structures

Instructions that are teacher-centered are no longer successful. Educators today use a more learner-centered approach. Cooperative learning helps in sparking engagement in classrooms by promoting interaction among fellow students. The educator, rather than calling on one child at a time to respond, facilitates involvement of all the students in peer discussion of the materials and lessons in small groups, ensuring thus their active participation.

Differentiated instruction

Educators can customize learning to cater to different students with different needs. Basically, there are three major learning styles: kinesthetic, visual, and auditory. Teachers can differentiate by creating assignments that match the readiness levels of students, offering the right extension or intervention activities as needed. Letting kids choose activities as per their areas of interest and giving choices to kids would be a great way to keep them motivated.

Goal setting

Involving students in the process of goal setting is another rewarding strategy to motivate them to take responsibility of their own learning. During the early stages, goal setting has to be performed in a clear and simple way – for instance, an open conversation with the students about their interests and progress in particular areas. Teachers can facilitate goal setting as well with the help of anchor charts, organizers and the like. Basically, helping kids reach their goals requires teachers to offer frequent feedback and provide enough time for self-reflection.

Cross-curricular teaching

In the past, traditional methodology taught subjects in isolation. Today the methodology of cross-curricular teaching of several subjects simultaneously is found to be a more effective. It helps students acquire learning skills and understand concepts much more efficiently.

Of course this approach does demand a lot from the teacher. It is easy to blend subjects like science, math and social studies with writing and reading. But it is indeed challenging to blend all the subjects at once. However, the method really works: not only does it tell the students what they must learn, but also engages them in uncovering and exploring the information in a meaningful and logical way.

Evaluation procedures

Assessment of learning is a process of data-gathering that is used by educators to help personalize instruction to match the needs of the student. Summative assessment does not always offer a clear picture. Also, it will be too late to use the data gathered thus for constructive remedial measures. The educator is under compulsion to move on to the next goal, leaving several students behind who have not completely grasped the previous material yet.

To prevent this from happening, educators can evaluate how the students learn while they teach, using questioning strategies, observations, classroom discussions, learning logs, exit tickets, peer assessments, slate work, self-assessment and the like.
 
Following these strategies will ensure the overall development of the children, helping them reach their optimal levels of performance and intelligence. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Career Advancement: The Use of Online Degrees in Early Childhood Education

There is a dramatic change in the industry of adult education with the introduction of online certification and degree programs. By exploiting the advantages of online education, aspirants can now complete their basic degrees and pursue further required courses for career advancement from anywhere in the world.


Online programs do help definitely professionals in early childhood education to get better jobs and take home better salaries. Here is how they assist in career advancement.

A great benefit for working moms

Women who have domestic or work commitments that are too overwhelming to put aside can research over the web for online degree programs.

Most of these programs can be done from home and at a pace and period that suits the applicant. The best thing about this learning environment is that the job that provides you with experience and a living can be continued till the online degree is obtained. Armed with your degree, you can ask for a pay raise or look for a better-paying job. To say the least, online degrees help you achieve the perfect balance between your personal life and your career.

Flexibility

Getting a degree online is a flexible task to pursue further education and to learn new skills. With such programs, a person can schedule study time according to their convenience; also, they can go through the learning process as fast as or as slow as they wish. They have the flexibility of providing enough time to meet other obligations, without compromising on the quality of their education.

Online degree programs are offered in several grades, from associates to doctorate. This means that even someone who is already qualified can study further to meet the changing demands and to secure the job they have been aspiring to take.

Accelerated completion

There are colleges which make provisions for accelerated completion of degree programs. Most colleges offering such online degree programs observe that those who enroll in those programs have a clear objective. They are looking to improve their chances of career advancement and want to finish as soon as possible. Several colleges have reformed their curricula and offer programs shorter than the conventional ones.

Getting a degree in an accelerated fashion will give you an edge over your competitors in matters of promotion.

Apart from flexibility and career advancement, there is likely to be another advantage of online degree programs: you may reignite an element of interest in your present job that used to be rather dull and stagnant. Imagine the excitement that comes once the degree is completed and new job opportunities open up.

Since online education is such a great instrument in advancing one’s career, it is certainly worth a great investment of time and money. One of the best ways to find out about such good degree courses is to search online.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Choosing the Right Early Childhood Education College for an Online Degree

Online colleges are not only popular but also a lot more acceptable for the industry of education. However, since there are so many online institutions to choose from, it becomes very difficult for you to select the right school. 


Choosing an early childhood education school or an online degree program is a little different from choosing between conventional universities. You won’t have to commute to a campus. You will not use the same student services that you might if you were enrolled in a traditional college. Your requirements as a student are completely different. Here is how to judge whether an online college for early childhood education is the right one for you. You will have to ask the following questions, and the answers will help you make an informed decision. 

Does the degree program fulfill my needs?

The focus of an online program is purely on the quality of education. There are now early childhood education colleges offering a variety of programs. You will no longer have to sacrifice the exact course that will help you enjoy the comfort and convenience of an online education. Make sure the program you choose meets the requirements in terms of academic and professional growth. You should make sure that the degree you want to do enables you to pursue the career you dream of!

Does the college have quality instructors to offer quality instruction?

When choosing a college, the main criterion should be the quality of education that is offered. Request them to help you glance through their syllabus and course books. This will give you an idea of the quality of the course.

You must also ask about the educational experts who teach on the degree program you have chosen. It will be helpful if you get to know some details of the criteria the college uses to determine whether a teacher is qualified or not. The educators should have enough experience and advanced degrees in their subject. Always make sure your instructors do have the required qualification to give you the education you need.

Are there any student services offered?

Like traditional universities, several reputed online early childhood education colleges offer student support services to help you choose a degree, and the right career path. They offer extra help if you need it. For instance, they assist you to contact instructors through e-mail or the course website. Some colleges also provide tutoring services, where students skilled in a subject help others who need extra attention.

Another service that you can look for is job search or placement assistance. Online colleges provide similar career services, just altered to fit the virtual format. For example, some colleges have searchable websites that enlist local job openings. Several online schools also offer resume writing help. Analyzing how the online college can prepare you for your professional growth can be another major factor when deciding on a college.

Identifying the right online college requires some research and time. This makes sense; since you need to be sure, the money you wish to invest in your education is not wasted! Take time out to investigate the online colleges you’ve decided to consider, and make sure the one you attend is the best choice in terms of growth of your knowledge and career prospects.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Five Early Childhood Education Programs You Should Know

Early childhood education programs have become prevalent in the United States. Thanks to the changing educational system, parents are lucky to have a range of options at their disposal such as Montessori, Head Start, Waldorf programs and Reggio Emilia. As someone interested in becoming an ECE specialist, you must be familiar with these methods before starting your career in early childhood education


1. Public preschool

The recent decades have seen public preschools gaining a lot of popularity throughout the United States. These schools are state-funded, and are mainly designed for families with low-income. They provide education to any child living in the specific school district.

2. Head Start

Many Head Start programs are funded by the federal government and are meant for low-income families who have kids less than five years. Also known as, Early Head Start programs they focus on pregnant women and kids up to three years. In addition, children with psychological and medical conditions and undergoing medical treatment are eligible for this program.

3. Montessori Schools

Montessori school programs target those kids who are in the age group of three to six years. Some include toddler-oriented programs while a few others are for infants. Kids enrolled in these programs are exposed to hands-on learning experience with the help of a series of aids and materials. Educational experts of these facilities are known as "directresses"; they guide children through certain activities instead of merely teaching them in a conventional fashion. However, the children set their own pace, and the teacher is cooperative in helping them play to learn.

4. Reggio Emilia approach

As the name suggests, this program uses an Italian methodology just like the Montessori school programs. In this approach, parents, children, and teachers make a collaborative effort in the school. If a child shows interest in a specific activity, they are given many opportunities to learn a curriculum that nourishes that particular interest. Teachers also encourage parents to participate in the child's curriculum. They are provided with additional educational materials to help feed the child’s interests.

5. Waldorf Early Childhood Program

In the Waldorf early childhood program, the teachers participate in domestic, artistic, and practical activities. They motivate the kids in their classes to emulate them. The experts also encourage young minds to make use of their imagination during storytelling and dramatic role-play sessions. The toys used in Waldorf programs are made using natural materials. Children are also encouraged to bring natural items so that they can explore and play with them. The Waldorf approach targets kids on three developmental stages – o to 7, 7 to 14, and 14 to 18 years.

Parents today have a strong inclination towards getting their young kids enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs. This has increased the demand and need for skilled early childhood education teachers. To cater to this growing need, several traditional and online colleges now offer courses that train and guide aspirants to become skilled personnel in early childhood education. If you are interested in a career in ECE, it’s best to start your research online today.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Enrolling in an Online Course in Early Childhood Education: 4 Things you have to be clear about

Do you dream of a college education but the bills weigh you down? Can’t afford to quit your job for full-time study? Consider enrolling in an online Early Childhood Education college program. The advantages of getting an online degree definitely overshadow the disadvantages. Imagine having the freedom to study from home or your job site, whenever and wherever you want. Wouldn’t that be nice?


However, online college schooling is not as simple as it sounds. You do need to take out time to prepare for certain things, if you want to successfully complete your degree. Here are 4 important things you should be clear about before taking the plunge.

Choosing the course

Be very clear about the course you want to take up. Many students end up switching from one course to another because they are no longer interested in pursuing what they started. This is fine if you are enrolled in a full time college program. However, online college courses, do not typically allow credit transfer. GThis is why it is important for you to be clear and serious about the program you want to enroll. Once you have decided to pursue a program, see to it that you finish it so as not to waste time and money.

Managing time

It is extremely important for one to have time management skills and self-discipline to accomplish a task successfully. People with lack of self-discipline, or will to study are not likely to do well in online study programs. Since there is no outside pressure on you to finish your credits on time, you have more chances of slacking. Online Early ChildhoodEeducation college programs require strong will and time management skills.

Managing Finances

Preparing for an online college degree does not only entail proper time management, but also affects your finances. Some degrees may be cheaper than a conventional degree. However, there are also online college degrees that are more expensive than their conventional counterparts are. Therefore, it is important for you to be prepared physically, emotionally, and financially to face the challenges ahead in taking up an online course. Make sure you save enough for your fee so as not to default.

Checking the accreditations of the college

One of the most important things you need to do before enrolling in a college is to check whether the college is properly accredited. Not only this, but you must also do a little research and check whether the quality of education offered by the college is up to the mark.

Online college programs are one of the best things that have happened to us. These have come as a big advantage to working students. Single parents who dream of a better life for their family find this opportunity a great opening: they can educate themselves as well, and take up jobs that are more promising.

Did you find these ideas useful? Leave a comment. Tell us what you would like to read further.

More in our next post.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Finding the perfect career in Early Childhood Education

One of the most rewarding careers you can opt for is to help young children learn and succeed. As an early childhood educator, you can facilitate their growth process and get the kids focused on a path to success from a very early age.

As you begin your career in early childhood education, you will have numerous career openings and options to choose from. You can work as a pre-school teacher, child care worker, an elementary school or kindergarten teacher, an education administrator, and the like. The kind of job you qualify for will depend upon your qualifications.


Getting a degree in Early Childhood Education

There are numerous degree options available for you if you plan to pursue this field. There are online degrees as well as on campus courses in early childhood education. The most basic qualification, however, is to obtain a high school diploma. After that, you can start out with a certification or an associate degree in early childhood education. If you intend to make a career as a public school teacher, you will have to attain a Bachelor's Degree for the same. But as you further your qualifications and study for a Master's, your options will start to increase, allowing you to focus on specific issues such as curriculum development. If you obtain a PhD in Early Childhood Development, you can even find yourself working in universities and colleges and within the arena of post-secondary education.

When searching for the right college, focus on finding out whether the school has the right credentials, accreditations and approvals. Apart from this, also find out about the kind of course contents it provides, what kind of exposure it will offer you, what educational philosophies and methodologies are you going to learn, what kind of hands-on field exposure you will be getting and so on. This kind of information will be very helpful while trying to find the course that is right for you.

Salary

Normally, the salary range for people who work in the field of Early Childhood Education ranges between USD 35,000 to USD 45,000. Apart from this, you also have the option of earning a supplemental income by leading extracurricular activities or coaching a sport. During the off months, you can also earn through a part time job.

A good beginning is the best predictor of a good ending.
 
The old proverb holds a lot of meaning when it comes to educating young children. All life and learning experiences are molded by what happens to the children in the early years of their lives. The influence of a teacher is extremely important and powerful and, in some ways, more powerful than any other element. For it is the quality of early childhood education that determines a child’s attitude towards formal schooling at secondary or primary level.

You can definitely make a rewarding career within the field of early childhood education. However, it is important to choose a course wisely. Take guidance from counsellors and decide accordingly. You can also seek online consultation from online ECE degree providers.