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7 Must-Haves for Early Childhood Teachers

Icons representing learning from early childhood through career.

Many people have a calling to work in education, but it takes a special kind of educator to work with young children in their first five years of life. These teachers are tasked with supporting basic cognitive, behavioral, social and physical developmental milestones. Patience, creativity, a love for the field and a bachelor’s degree in child development are important elements of being an effective early childhood educator. Read on to learn more about these and other qualities that lead to success in the classroom and throughout their career.

A Passion for Early Childhood Education

Education is not a field that just anyone can go into and be both successful and fulfilled in their career. Prospective educators must have a passion for teaching young children. This enthusiasm should reach beyond playground fun and focus on helping young children meet developmental milestones.

Patience and a Sense of Humor

Young children are full of energy and curiosity. Early childhood educators should bring a great deal of patience and a dose of humor to the classroom to keep children engaged in the day’s lessons.


Reaching children and helping them learn requires creativity while guiding students in connecting the dots and relating lessons to their current stage of development. Early childhood educators should be able to adapt lesson plans to concepts that children can understand. Incorporating learning games and other teaching techniques can keep children engaged and focused throughout the day.

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Communication Skills

Children are sponges at this early age, but they are also new to learning. Early childhood educators must be able to communicate with young learners on their level, including being able to break complex subjects into easily digestible pieces. They must be able offer details about classroom progress to parents so they are aware of their child’s performance and achievement level. Communication helps parents identify teachable moments in everyday situations and boost their child’s kindergarten readiness.


Even the best early childhood teachers will go off course throughout the day due to unforeseen circumstances or learning hiccups. While creating a lesson plan to outline important concepts that should be addressed in curriculum is important for any classroom, even the best plans sometimes don’t happen the way we hope. Being flexible can help lessen stress levels and keep things on track.

Understanding Diversity

Children come from different home environments and backgrounds, which can lead to different learning styles. Early childhood teachers should be able to accept these differences and be willing to work with varied learning styles to ensure all students leave the classroom having achieved the identified learning objectives.

A Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development

Early childhood education is not a one-size-fits-all teaching career, but with the right education future teachers can gain valuable knowledge and experience to drive their success in the classroom. A degree in child development and education ensures educators understand basic learning objectives and developmental milestones for young children.

This credential also gives teachers the skills to support kindergarten readiness and future academic achievement. A bachelor’s degree prepares early childhood educators to be advocates who understand the value of pre-K education as the foundation for a child’s future academic success.

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