Characteristics of the Effective Early Childhood Educator

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This essay examines the components that contribute to being an effective early childhood educator. Effective early childhood education has been shown to be an evolving and complex process, and is influenced by many factors. These factors include a deep understanding of the theories and philosophies of many pioneering and contemporary pedagogues, such as Piaget, Montessori and Vygotsky and studies emerging from Reggio Emilia in Italy. Researchers have found, that unless the educator is working in a specific theory based environment, for example, a Montessori school, or a school where Piagetian practice is implemented, the contemporary pedagogy will base lesson plans on a selection of these theorists idea's and concepts rather than the entire philosophy ( Edwards & Hammer, 2006).

To be an effective contemporary early childhood educator, one must be empathetic ( Wesley, 1998; Wood, 2008). More specifically effective early childhood educators should be empathetic to the children in their care, the child's family and other co-workers. This reflects that the educator is willing to listen, relate to others and therefore be integrated as a respected and trusted member of the school and wider community.

As an effective early childhood educator, creating strong partnerships with children and their parents, as explained by Shonkoff et al. (2000; as cited in Wood 2008) has shown that to provide a productive learning environment a teacher must have a positive relationship with children and their families.

The ability to accept new idea's and practices and a willingness to adjust the curriculum in accordance to specific cultural and social influences has been suggested to be another important factor for the effective early childhood...

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Heider, K.L. (2009). Information Literacy: The Missing Link In Early Childhood Education. Early Childhood Education Journal, 36, 513-518.

Preston, B. (1993). Teacher Professionalism – implications for teachers, teacher educators, and democratic schooling. Independent Education, 23, 4-12.

Wesley, D.C. (1998). Eleven Ways To Be a Great Teacher. Educational Leadership, 55, 80-81.

Wood, C. (2008). Create a Nourishing Classroom Culture. In D. Curtis and M. Carter. (Eds). Learning together with young children: A curriculum framework for reflective teachers. (pp 22-53). Minnesota: Readleaf Press.
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