What is Early Childhood Education?

Early childhood education is a specialized field that is devoted to the learning and development of young children, and its importance in the later years in life. Teachers who work in this educational field work with children who range in age from birth through five years old.

Education Requirements

Students who are interested in working in this field need to earn not just a bachelor degree in education, but a bachelor degree in the field of early childhood education. The best degree to pursue to work with children during this specific time is a bachelor degree in early childhood education. This degree will focus solely on the development — both physical and cognitive — of children during this time. Students will spend their time studying what works best for children during this time frame, how to foster creative learning and how to implement a standard of learning as they enter their developmental years.

These degree programs focus not only on teaching young students but also on developing valuable relationships between community members and children’s parents. The idea behind this theory is that students learn not only in the classroom but also in their homes and the public environment. Students in this field work to get everyone on board with helping to develop every child who is a member of the next generation. The goal of any good early childhood education degree program is to promote the fact that every child is capable of doing great things, and childhood should be a special time in everyone’s lives.

Career Options: What you can do with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education

Once a student graduates with a degree in early childhood education, there are a wide variety of career options available for the degree holder to choose from. One of the most common career choices is working in a school district as a preschool or kindergarten teacher. This is a hands-on career option where teachers work with young children on a daily basis, teaching them the basic foundations they will need for the rest of their lives. Teachers in early childhood education also focus on the children’s emotional needs as well, helping them develop valuable relationships and become good citizens.

Another career option for people in this field is working within a child care facility. These facilities work with children from infancy through age 5 when children head off to the regular classroom. A child care facility is a unique opportunity to have an impact on a child’s life, as the instructors in these rooms become caregivers for the children. They work to provide them with the care and nutrition they need, as well as help them learn, grow and develop physically and mentally.

What to Consider if you Pursue Early Childhood Education

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the early childhood education field is expected to grow about 17 percent throughout the next decade. This is about as fast as average for other career fields right now, and is therefore a viable choice for those interested in pursuing this career field. The average elementary school teacher makes about $51,000 per year and there were about 1.6 million elementary school teachers in 2010. Most teachers will work within either private or public schools, depending on their preference and job availability in the area.

Preschool teachers are expected to be more in demand throughout the coming decade, with a job growth rate of about 25 percent expected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While there is expected to be more job opportunities available for preschool teachers, the salary is significantly less than that of a kindergarten teacher. The average preschool teacher makes about $25,000 per year. On the other hand, a preschool teacher position typically requires an associate degree while a kindergarten teacher position most often requires a bachelor degree. Preschool teachers have the opportunity to work in public and private schools, as well as for child care facilities where they can help educate young children throughout the entire calendar year.

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