An early childhood teacher needs:
- to enjoy working with young children
- a caring and empathetic demeanour
- patience, tolerance and a good temperament
- an interest in educational development
- good communication and social skills
- strong organisational and problem-solving skills.
Early childhood teachers work in pre-school centres such childcare centres, early education classes, kindergartens and schools. They work both indoors and outdoors, and may spend a lot of time standing. Although they usually teach during regular hours, they are also often required to work outside these hours in order to plan teaching activities and attend meetings.
Early childhood teachers can expect to make between $325 and $950.00 per week, depending on their level of experience, the number of hours worked and the organisation they work for.
Early childhood teachers use educational resources including books, toys, art materials, musical instruments and outdoor play equipment. They may also use computers, digital cameras and video recorders in their work.
In order to become an early childhood teacher you need to complete a Bachelor of Education, specialising in early childhood studies or a related field. Alternatively, you could complete a bachelor degree followed by a graduate diploma in education majoring in early childhood.
Entry into the following courses usually requires completion of your WACE at Stages 2 and 3.
Curtin University of Technology offers a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) at a number of locations around the state. The course usually takes four years full time to complete.
Edith Cowan University offers the Bachelor of Education (Kindergarten through Primary) at its Joondalup campus, and the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Studies) at its Mount Lawley campus. Both courses usually take four years full time or equivalent to complete.
The University of Notre Dame Australia offers the Bachelor of Education (Kindergarten to Year 7) at its Broome Campus and the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) at its Fremantle campus. Both courses usually take four years full time to complete.
Teachers in WA must hold registration with the Western Australian College of Teaching. Contact the College for details. To work in schools in WA, you must obtain a Working with Children Check issued by the Department of Education and Training. Some educational institutions may also require a current Department of Education and Training Crim-Trac Police Clearance.
Teachers are required by mandatory reporting laws to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification. Visit the ApprentiCentre to find out more.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.