Early Childhood Educator Skills: Definition and Examples
Updated 12 September 2023
Early childhood educators provide developmental education and emotional support to children aged from infancy to 5 years. This is a specialised role, so hiring employers often prioritise a variety of technical and soft skills when screening eligible job candidates. Learning about the skills early childhood educators use can help you determine which ones to develop and emphasise on your resume. In this article, we describe what early childhood educator skills are, discuss some examples to include and highlight on your early childhood educator resume, provide skill development tips and outline how you can use them in the workplace.
What are early childhood educator skills?
Early childhood educator skills refer to the abilities that educators use when creating and delivering lessons, managing a classroom and inspiring students to learn. Early childhood educators typically have a range of technical skills, including knowledge of language development, classroom management, mathematics and diversity training. They also use a variety of soft skills, such as interpersonal communication, time management, empathy and creativity. Early childhood educators usually develop their abilities by undertaking tertiary-level training and staying up to date on the best teaching practices.
Examples of early childhood educator skills
Here are some early childhood educator skills you can include on your resume:
The role of an early childhood educator typically involves frequent communication with young children, parents and teachers. Excellent communication skills can help childhood educators develop strong relationships with their students. They can convey information that's relevant to the curriculum in simple language that encourages students to learn. On your resume, highlight your communication skills by describing situations in which you've used communication strategies to help underachieving students better understand a subject. You could also describe instances where you conducted successful parent/teacher interviews and explained each child's progress effectively to their parents or guardians.
Improving competence in speech and language is fundamental to a child's development. Knowing which language strategies are effective for children at different stages is a desirable skill for an early childhood educator to have. Display your speech and language skills on your resume by explaining your level of knowledge of key components, such as phonetics, semantics, syntax and pragmatics. In addition, describe examples where you've helped students improve their pronunciation or vocabulary.
Very young children are often still developing basic social skills, so they may occasionally display undesirable behaviour in the classroom, such as engaging in tantrums or refusing to share with classmates. Classroom management skills can help childhood educators control a lesson and facilitate an environment in which children feel safe and able to learn. These skills might include the ability to establish clear classroom rules or implement strategies that encourage good behaviour. If classroom management is a strong area for you, list examples on your resume of effective learning environments you've created.
Enthusiasm is the ability to display energetic enjoyment in an activity or subject. This is an excellent soft skill for early childhood educators to have because it can help them motivate students and convey information in an engaging manner that captures their interest. You can showcase this skill on your resume by describing situations or lessons where you've used your enthusiasm to engage children and encourage their curiosity.
How to improve early childhood educator skills
Here are several tips to help you improve your early childhood educator skills:
1. Complete a relevant bachelor degree
Pursuing a bachelor degree in early education is an excellent way to improve your knowledge and skills in early childhood education. These courses provide students with a comprehensive understanding of early childhood development and various techniques to succeed as a teacher. For example, if you complete this program, you may develop effective strategies for building classroom lessons and creating positive learning environments. Many universities offer these courses, and they can take between 3 and 4 years to complete, depending on whether you enrol full-time or part-time.
2. Gain teaching experience
Gaining teaching experience can be an excellent way to build your confidence in teaching and develop key technical and soft skills. For example, by volunteering for a teaching program or applying for an entry-level teaching position, you might learn how to interact with early childhood students, support educators and lead a classroom. This can enhance your public speaking, conflict resolution, lesson creation and organisation skills.
3. Practise interpersonal skills
Early childhood educators regularly interact with students and teachers, and it can benefit you to practise and refine your interpersonal skills. There are many options and methods you can pursue to achieve this. For example, you could take public speaking classes to improve your ability to communicate ideas to an audience. You might also join a recreational or sports club to practise interacting with and listening to others while working in a team environment.
Early childhood educator skills in the workplace
Here are some ways you can use your early childhood educator skills in the workplace:
Discussing a child's development with their parents: Throughout the course of a teaching year, you may meet with a student's parents or guardians to discuss their progress and any learning needs they require. This responsibility requires your communication, active listening and empathy skills.
Providing effective feedback: When you're evaluating student progress, you might provide each child with feedback informing them of what they did well and where they could improve.
Resolving interpersonal conflicts: If you're teaching young children, you may experience situations where students have minor disagreements with each other and disrupt a class. To resolve interpersonal conflicts, you might use your conflict management, classroom management, communication and leadership skills.
Highlighting your early childhood educator skills
Here are some ways you can highlight your early childhood educator skills and attract the interest of hiring employers:
Early childhood educator skills for a resume
Including a skills section on your resume is an excellent way to convey your most desirable hard and soft skills. If you have a variety of abilities and are unsure about which to focus on, review the job description of your desired opening and note which skills the hiring employer is searching for. In addition, consider emphasising your educator skills in the work experience section of your resume. For example, when discussing a duty you performed in a prior teaching role, you could highlight the abilities you used to complete the task.
Early childhood educator skills for a cover letter
Writing a cover letter allows you to elaborate on your professional capabilities, so it can be a great opportunity to provide detailed information about one or two of your most desirable skills as an educator. Focus on emphasising the abilities that closely match what the hiring employer is searching for.
For example, after reviewing the job description, you identify that the employer prefers an early childhood educator who's skilled at building strong relationships with students and has experience mentoring pre-service teachers. You could focus on these criteria in your cover letter by discussing situations where you've used your relationship-building and communication skills to forge positive connections with students and parents. You might also highlight your mentoring and leadership abilities by providing one or two examples of successful mentorship programs you've been involved in to help train pre-service teachers.
Early childhood educator skills for an interview
During a job interview for an early childhood educator position, a hiring manager may ask you a range of questions about your relevant competencies. This can be an excellent opportunity to discuss some of your best skills and provide detailed examples of how you used them in a previous job role or during a university course. For example, if one of your key skills is language development, you could outline phonetics and semantics programs you've implemented and discuss the positive results you achieved.
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