Keys to Success in Early Childhood Education

Welcome! I'm an early childhood educator, and I have been where many of you are -with great success. I began my career as a Pre-K teacher and instantly fell in love with the field of early childhood education. So much so, that it completely altered my life path. After just one year in the classroom, I was recruited to be a Mentor, and Trainer, and eventually became a Center Manager and Regional Manager for a non-profit organization here in Texas. I have combined my knowledge & experience to offer you fun, engaging and relevant content that will help you succeed. Join me as we discuss the Keys to Success in Early Childhood.

The 1st Key

Who are you?

Know Thyself

Early childhood educators play many roles and wear many hats. We also have many different titles, depending on who is giving the description. For example, there are some individuals who think of early childhood as just "babysitting," while others understand the importance of early childhood educators and view educators with respect. However, it is not as important what others think of you, as what you think of yourself. The 1st Key to success is knowing who YOU are within the field. So, who are you?

Who are you? Lets find out!

As an early childhood educator, I take on many roles. More than anything, I am a true 

Professional defined

Dictionary.com

..states, that a professional is a person who is an expert at his or her work. As a former Pre-K teacher, and Center Manager, I am aware that early childhood educators are experts at many things. In this profession, we have to become expert cooks, house keepers, program managers, first-aid providers and much more!

 This is why you should wake up every morning and remind yourself that you are a professional. Not only that, but along with the knowledge that you are a professional, begin also to conduct your self as a professional. 

Which leads to our next topic...

Putting it into practice...

Create a personal "I am" statement.


Think about the many roles you play daily in your career. Using the knowledge you have gained in this section, write a personal "I am" statement to express who you are. 

Ex: I am a successful child care administrator, capable of efficiently managing the day-to-day needs of my center. 


The 2nd Key

What comes to mind when you hear the word professionalism? In what ways do you exhibit professionalism daily?

Appearance

Dressed for Recess                        

In my time as a trainer and mentor, I have often seen teachers dressed in very relaxed fashion including sweat pants, leggings, etc. There are some child care facilities that allow this, and that is ok if that is your center's policy, but...

             Dressed for Success

 I challenge YOU to take full responsibility for how you present yourself at work, and step it up a notch. I am not asking you to wear things that are uncomfortable, but consider this; when you look good, you feel good! When you feel good, your day will go a lot smoother, which means a happy environment for students. So take the challenge, and dress for success!

Matching game

  • Punctuality
    Be on time!
  • Preparation
    Plan Ahead
  • Structure
    Having a plan or pattern to follow

Planning for Greatness

Punctuality

One of the most important aspects of professionalism is punctuality. Everyone in the child-care setting plays a key role, and if one person is late, it affects the whole group. Not only does being late negatively affect the center's daily operations, it also conveys a sign of disrespect for everyone else's time and efforts. As a Center Manager, I always considered late arrivals as disrespectful to the team and to the students.  

There are those of us who will say, "it's just who I am," or any other number of excuses, but I challenge YOU to be a true professional and do what it takes to arrive to work on time.

Preparation 

Another sign of a true professional is being prepared for the day. During my first year as a Pre-K teacher, there were days when I tried to "wing" it because I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I quickly learned that being unprepared made me feel less confident, more stressed and usually resulted in me leaving work in a bad mood.

All of that changed when I began to take time to plan and prepare for my next day. I would decide what books to read and take them out before I left. I would decide what centers would be open, and would have them prepared. I would plan my circle time to-the-minute, including what songs we would sing. 

It doesn't seem like much, but once I started planning ahead, I entered my classroom with confidence and a smile, ready to have a great day. 

Structure 

An early childhood classroom without structure is a descent into chaos! Both children and adults function better with structure. Here are some things you can do to provide structure in your daily routine:

1. Have a daily routine: Create a schedule and follow that schedule every day.

2. Plan for transitions: It can get hectic when transitioning from one activity to the next, so have a plan in place for transitions such as coming to the carpet, moving into centers, clean up, meal service, nap-time, etc. and repeat these daily. 

3. Organize: Have a designated place for storing lesson plans, classroom supplies and personal belongings. A clutter-free environment is a pleasant environment!

He Said, She Said- Gossip in the Work Place

When you hear gossip, be the one to stop it.

In an environment where educators work so closely together, there is bound to be sharing of personal details, and/or disagreements.

Although no work place is perfect, it becomes a toxic environment when gossip enters the equation. Gossiping about co-workers leads to hostility, stress and possibly embarrassment for the person on the receiving end. Simply put, it doesn't feel good and it lowers morale.

So, the next  time you are tempted to give or receive the juicy gossip, think about this; how would you feel if you were the topic of discussion?

Would you be as excited to share the information if it were your own child or loved on being discussed?

What would happen if you refused to participate?

Share your Story...

Tell me about a time when someone spread rumors about you. How did it make you feel?

Team Work...

Makes the Dream Work

There's no getting around it. Businesses of any kind are successful because of a group of individuals coming together to serve a common purpose. Being a team player means stepping up to do what it takes to get the job done. When I was a Center Manager, my primary duty was program management, but when necessary, I stepped into the kitchen to cook, into the classroom to teach, or into the restroom to mop floors.

There is no job too great or too small, and everyone is responsible for the success of the program. A few ways you can exhibit team work are:

Be punctual.

Helping a teacher in need.

Helping your Center Manager as needed.

Not  spreading gossip.

Supporting other team members who need extra support. 

Watch This...

The 3rd Key

How do you Start your Day?

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed..

You're human, so there will be days when-for whatever reason- you just are not in a good mood. It happens!

But...if it's happening everyday, then maybe it's not your mood that's the problem. You may be in need of an attitude "tune-up."

Attitude

I know, I know. I sounds very cliche to say that "your attitude determines your altitude," but it's true! 

When you have negative feelings about anything in life, you tend to feel bad about it and put forth less effort.

On the contrary, have you ever been so excited about something that you could barely sleep at night? You had a feeling it would work out great, you dressed for success, you were positive and happy and therefore gave it your best? 

If not, I challenge YOU to decide to be excited about your profession. Plan ahead, organize your room, and then expect great things to happen. It may seem silly at first, or even hard to maintain, but keep waking up everyday determined to be in a greater mood than the day before. 

Do this for 30 days and make note of the improvements you've noticed. 

Something to Smile About

I woke up like this!

A smile goes a long way!

Think about it; would you rather be greeted by an "angry baby" or bright welcoming smile?

Decide how you want to present yourself to the world and purposefully wake up and start your day with a smile!

The Importance of a Positive Attitude

Reasons to be Positive 

-What you do is important to children and families.

-Know that, "if you think you can, you can!"

-You can CHOOSE your response to challenges.

-Someone else is always watching and looking to you for guidance.

Personal Accountability

What is one thing you can do differently to help ensure that you have a good day? Are you willing to do it?

The 4th Key

Never Stop Learning

Knowledge 

It would be difficult to be successful in any field without some formal knowledge that can be applied. As educators, it is important to continue to stay up-to-date on Best Practices in the early childhood field.

One way of doing that is by participating in trainings required to meet licensing guidelines. Likewise, you could enroll in classes to obtain a new degree, or complete self-study on topics of interest. Whatever you decide, always stay abreast of trends and Best Practices in early childhood. 

Goal Setting

What will you do?

Decide today, what you will do to stay knowledgeable in early childhood field?

What is one thing you can do at least annually to stay up-to-date on current trends?

Congrats!

Thanks for completing the course! I hope that my personal experience will help you enhance your professional early childhood career! Now, send an email to [email protected] sharing two Keys to Success discussed in the course, along with your full name, and you will receive the completed training certificate!