Home' Belonging Early Years Journal : Vol 5 No 2 Contents 30 • BELONGING EARLY YEARS JOURNAL • VOLUME 5 NUMBER 2 • 2016
training + recruitment
X • BELONGING EARLY YEARS JOURNAL • VOLUME 5 NUMBER 2 • 2016
training + recruitment
Early childhood teachers
making a difference
BY PROFESSOR ANN FARRELL, QUT SCHOOL OF EARLY CHILDHOOD
Early childhood teachers make a real and lasting
difference. By choosing to become a specialist
early childhood teacher, you are choosing
to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of
children and families, and to make a real and lasting
difference in your own life. While your work benefits
children, families and the nation, there are professional
and personal benefits for you, as well. You get to join
a well-respected profession and build a professional
identity. You get to work closely with children and
families, to engage with colleagues in a learning
community, and to pursue a widening range of career
opportunities working with children from birth to age
eight in diverse early years contexts.
We know from our own practice, and from
international research, that the work of early childhood
educators optimises social, educational and economic
benefits for children, families and communities
(Heckman, 2011; OECD, 2011; UNESCO, 2011). But what
is it, specifically, about the early childhood teacher
that makes such a difference? The short answer is that
with a specialist bachelor’s degree, early childhood
teachers have enhanced knowledge and skills to build
positive relationships with children and adults (Wong,
Press, Sumsion & Hard, 2012) to design quality and
inclusive educational programs, and to use appropriate
pedagogical strategies that promote children’s learning,
wellbeing and life outcomes (Sabol, Hong, Pianta &
Burchinal, 2013). These are goals worth pursuing.
Working as a specialist early childhood teacher is
not only a career choice that makes a real difference,
it is also a national priority. It is front and centre of the
National Quality Framework (NQF) for early childhood
education and care (ECEC) services prior to school
(Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality
Authority [ACECQA], 2012) and for bringing to life the
National Quality Standard (2012) and the Early Years
Learning Framework (COAG, 2009) (for children from
birth to five years). Specialist early childhood teachers
are also needed in schools to support a child’s
successful transition to, and active engagement in,
learning within the early phase of school.
We need national and local commitment to early
education, and the employment of well-qualified
early childhood teachers in ECEC prior to school and
the early years of school for the short- and long-term
benefits of children, families and communities, and
to strengthen the professional identity of the ECEC
sector as a whole. A sector that values early childhood
teachers and their work is a sector that leads rather
than follows. Preparing such teachers and supporting
their continued professional learning is our core
business at Queensland University of Technology,
and one to which we are deeply committed. We
encourage you to come join us, to pursue a career
in early childhood teaching and to make a real and
Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority
(2012) National Quality Framework. Canberra, ACR: ACECQA.
Retrieved 31 March 2015 from www.acecqa.gov.au/national-
Council of Australian Governments (COAG) (2009). Early
Years Learning Framework. Canberra, ACR: COAG.
Heckman, J. (2011). ‘The economics in inequality. The value of
early childhood education’. American Educator, Spring, 31-47.
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
(2011). Encouraging quality in early childhood education
and care (ECEC). International comparison: Job titles,
qualifications and requirements. Retrieved 28 March 2015
Sabol. T. J., Hong, S. S., Pianta, R. C., & Burchinal, M.R. (2013).
‘Can rating pre-k programs predict school readiness?’
Science, 341(6148). doi: 10.1126/science.1233517.
Saracho, O., & Spodek, B. (2007). ‘Early childhood teachers’
preparation and the quality of program outcomes’.
Early Child Development and Care, 177(1), 71 - 91.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation
(UNESCO) (2011). International Standard Classification of
Education. Retrieved on 28 March 2015 from www.uis.unesco.
Wong, S., Press, F., Sumsion, J., & Hard, L. (2012). Collaborative
practice in Victorian early years services. Bathurst: Charles
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