From birth, children are in need of the special care and attention that will eventually shape their development and growth. Children placed in early childcare institutions such as nursery schools or preschools are usually under the supervision of an early childhood assistant (ECA). When given the responsibility of several children, basic healthcare training is definitely helpful to ensure that the basic psychological, physical and educational needs of children are met. Take a look at what an early childhood assistant can expect in a day at a nursery school.
Even before the masses of small children pour into the nursery school, an ECA is preparing for the daily activities that will support and promote their cognitive and physical development. The ECA is responsible for creating a safe and clean environment for the children and maintaining all of the equipment and surroundings before they arrive, during their stay, and after their departure. Once the children have arrived, the ECA will carry out and monitor various programs and activities including:
- Reading stories
- Introducing simple musical instruments
- Teaching arts and crafts
- Teaching physical fitness
While the ECA is guiding the children through these activities, he/she is also responsible for observing them and assessing their basic abilities, interests and requirements. A preschool teacher’s assistant gets to plan fun activities for the children, creatively interacting with them by organizing art projects and storytelling, teaching them about colours, shapes and numbers. They may also prepare snacks and help the children get dressed, providing one-on-one attention for preschoolers of diverse backgrounds.
An ECA has an extensive list of responsibilities to keep in mind throughout his/her day at a nursery school. Some of these duties include:
- Monitoring activities designed for children
- Snack and meal preparation
- Arranging and rearranging furniture to accommodate naptime and lunchtime
- Helping the supervisor keep records of the children
- Cleaning and maintaining equipment
- Assisting children with the development of functions such as eating, dressing and toilet training
- Observing the children for signs of learning disabilities or emotional issues
- Discussing any progress or problems with parents
Although the day can sometimes be overwhelming as an ECA, it can also truly be rewarding because you are aiding in the development of young children and in turn helping shape their future.
As an ECA, there are several key requirements and skills that you must have in order to successfully work with children in the early stages of their lives. Earning an early childhood assistant diploma is the first step to this rewarding career, helping you to develop these types of skills that will come in handy on the job:
- Classroom management skills
These qualities combined with a genuine interest in early childhood education, fortified by the appropriate educational background and experience, will start you on your way to becoming a great early childhood assistant.