There have been many times in my career, when it has been necessary to defend my field, and its importance. I have chosen a career path many see as unworthy of their time, an unwanted or simple job. A profession seen as limited, unfulfilling, just another meaningless job anyone could do.
It often times can be exhausting and hurtful to defend the very thing you believe so much in, that work very hard at, something you have devoted your whole life too.
It is hard to see the look in someone’s eye’s as you tell them what you do, it’s almost as if they pity you. I always want to look at them and say what’s your job? Does it make you happy? Do you love going to work every day? Do you love the people you work with? Most people cannot say yes to even one of these questions, let alone all of them. I can unequivocally say, I enjoy nothing more than my profession.
To be able to define and understand the job of an Early Childhood Professional one must first know the definition of Early Childhood Education. ECE or Early Childhood Education is a very diverse field, which serves children from birth to the age of eight years. Within this time these children experience a wide range of care and education, in various settings. When these children are in their various settings, the adults with them, no matter their job title or their specific work, they are Early Childhood Professionals. From a childcare provider, preschool teacher, center director or kindergarten teacher, these are all examples of and ECE Professional.
It is the job of the Early Childhood Professional, to create an environment in which children are able to safely explore their world, gain new skills, learn independence, grow socially and emotionally. We see great physical growth in these years, from rolling, to crawling to walking. Children work on their language skills, gross and fine motors skills. So much is learned within the time frame we call Early Childhood, ECE Professionals help lay the foundation in which all other education is built upon.
Not only are ECE professionals supporting the children in their care, they are also supporting that child’s family. Their services go beyond the child in the room. To better understand the child they care for, it is imperative they know the family. Knowing and understanding where a child comes from is beneficial to all involved. Knowing the family dynamic, the culture, the beliefs, and home life, you can better support and understand the student. Communication is important. Sometimes the ECE professional is the first stop for families looking for support. Families trust their providers, and this is where they feel most comfortable being honest about their needs as a family.
Early Childhood professionals have the whole child in mind. There is no one focus, everything is considered, cognitive development, social emotional needs and development, a child’s physical development, all of these things are considered every day, about every child in the care of an Early Childhood Professional.
This is a huge role, a vital role, not only for the children and families being served but for the community as a whole.
Abby Lazarus M.E.d.
Current Doctoral Student, Masters in Early Childhood studies, and a Bachelors in Child Development