Early Childhood Education (ECE) plays a crucial role in shaping the developmental trajectory of young children. ECE programs lay the groundwork for lifelong learning, cognitive growth, social interactions, and emotional intelligence. They can mold how young children interact with the world around them as well as their beliefs regarding themselves and others.
Early childhood education professionals can provide student support beyond traditional classroom roles. ECE professions can include ECE educators, childcare providers, early intervention specialists, and program administration. This career flexibility and opportunity to mold future generations can lead to professional and personal fulfillment.
What is Early Childhood Education?
Early childhood education (ECE) refers to educational and developmental programs designed for children ages zero to eight. ECE programs help develop linguistic, social, emotional, cognitive, and physical skills during a critical period for brain development and learning. These programs start before young learners are old enough to enroll in kindergarten and continue during elementary school.
ECE can be provided in various settings such as daycare centers, head start, preschools, and elementary schools. ECE programs aim to provide a nurturing environment for children to develop and build a solid educational foundation. They use age-appropriate activities, play-based learning, and social interactions to encourage language development, literacy, empathy, social skills, and more.
The Importance of Early Childhood Education
90% of brain development happens before young children enter kindergarten. Early childhood education programs optimize these crucial years to better prepare young learners for future academic and career success. These programs help children develop interpersonal, linguistic, social, basic literacy, and motor skills required for elementary school settings.
In ECE programs, children are exposed to and can begin interacting with their peer group. Through group activities and constant interaction, children can practice active listening, teamwork, and empathy. They begin to understand the relationship between cause and effect which helps them begin thinking critically about their actions.
Working alongside their peers also encourages communication, so young children can more effectively interact with those around them. As their communication skills increase, so can their confidence and self-esteem. They may become eager to interact with others, take leadership roles in social situations, and actively participate in class.
ECE programs can capitalize on a child’s budding communication skills by introducing the alphabet and phonics. This trains young ears to identify and differentiate sounds in words. This includes identifying sounds by pointing to letters, naming the letter they hear, or sounding out letters presented to them.
During this time, young children can develop motor skills such as hand-eye coordination, running, hopping, skipping, and more. These developments help children independently navigate daily tasks such as feeding themselves, holding crayons, copying letters, and more. As children further develop these skills, they can manage more complex tasks such as tying their shoes or dressing themselves.
3 Reasons to Consider an ECE Career
Early childhood education professionals can have lasting impacts on the lives of children, their families, communities, and beyond. ECE professionals can work with parents and caregivers to better understand a child’s developmental needs. They can also provide strategies to help parents encourage learning beyond classroom settings.
ECE professionals can also…
Contribute to a Child’s Holistic Development
During a child’s early years, education is geared towards individual development instead of academic accomplishments. This provides ample opportunities for early childhood education professionals to focus on each child’s holistic development. ECE professionals help children foster creativity, independence and self-expression as they practice developing and maintaining relationships in their peer group.
ECE professionals also play an important role in helping children co-regulate their emotions and reactions. Co-regulation guides children through difficult or negative emotions and fosters their ability to self-soothe as well as manage emotions independently. This also teaches young children to acknowledge their negative emotions and communicate their needs instead of resorting to outbursts.
Watching each child’s overall development helps ECE professionals identify students with developmental delays or special needs. ECE professionals can speak with parents or caretakers to provide additional support or an intervention on the child’s behalf. Advocating for children and providing additional resources to parents increases the likelihood of each child reaching their full potential.
Catching delays or disabilities during a child’s early years can improve a child’s academic, social, and professional outcomes.
Create Positive Change in Early Childhood Education
Early childhood education professionals may also advocate for and contribute to policy development at local, state, and national levels. They strive to create positive changes to improve the quality of ECE programs to increase positive outcomes for future generations.
ECE advocates fight for changes such as:
- Increased ECE program accessibility
- Increased ECE support and awareness
- Inclusion for bilingual students, students with special needs, students with diverse backgrounds, etc.
- Leveraging state and federal funding to help families pay for childcare and ECE programs
Find Career and Personal Fulfillment
Careers in early childhood education can be personally and professionally rewarding. While ECE professionals only spend a short time with young learners, their impact can last a lifetime. Creating positive experiences for young children can shape the way they view education, themselves, and the world around them.
Early childhood education programs are often a child’s first introduction to education. ECE professionals can help children develop positive attitudes and beliefs which can carry them far in life. The impact of ECE during a child’s formative years has been proven to offer positive benefits well into adulthood.
Knowing the lasting impact ECE positions can have on the lives of future generations can bring personal and career satisfaction.
Early Childhood Education at MMC
Our Early Childhood Education program aims to prepare graduates to be capable of meeting the needs of young children. Students can discover the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional developmental milestones of children during their formative years. They can practice creating and implementing lesson plans designed to encourage creativity, language development, and memorization.
Students in our ECE program train to identify students with disabilities and intervene accordingly. Students can practice creating lesson plans with these students in mind to better accommodate their needs. Students can also study best practices for creating effective learning environments to encourage positive behavior.
Our ECE program can be completed in as little as 18 months and is offered online through our Chattanooga campus. Graduates of our online ECE program are awarded an Associate of Applied Science degree.
Our ECE program is also available as a hybrid program through our Augusta and Columbus campuses. Graduates of our hybrid ECE programs are awarded an Associate of Occupational Science degree.
Please be advised, our ECE program prepares graduates for entry-level careers in the childcare industry. This program does not prepare graduates for teaching or teaching-related positions, nor does it prepare graduates to become licensed teachers.
Careers in early childhood education can have lifelong impacts on young learners, their families, and the community. They can lay strong foundations for future generations and help prepare young learners for future success.
Ready to start training for an exciting career in early childhood education? Call us at (800) 705-9182 or complete this form for more information.