Have you always known that helping children would be a part of your future?
Were you the little kid with two dozen dolls, each with a name and a wardrobe and a special place in your heart? Did you take that babysitter’s course at the local YMCA and start your own babysitting business when you were twelve? Did you take care of your younger siblings at times, making sure they had a good day or just stayed out of trouble? Did the adults in your life notice how good you were with younger kids, and tell you early on that you would probably work with children when you grew up?
No? Well, maybe your interest in early childhood education developed a little later in life. Maybe you were a camp counselor the year after high school, and you found that the kids really responded to you, and you enjoyed working with them. Or, maybe you took a job at a daycare center or preschool – or had children of your own – and you could see how important those early years of development were. You could see how children as young as two or three were like eager little sponges, soaking up the environment around them, learning all they could about themselves and their world. You just knew, intuitively, that those years of early learning were too important to be missed, and you wanted to be a part of them for as many children as possible.
Or, there could be another reason you’re reading this page. You may already have a bachelor degree in early childhood education, and you’re looking for a way to expand your influence. You enjoy your work in the ECE setting, but you want to move into management, curriculum development or even teaching.
Whatever the roots of your interest in a master degree in early childhood education, keep reading. This article will touch on what the degree entails, what type of personality is drawn to the career path, what you can do once you’re finished with your education and what kinds of job openings are available in the field right now.
What is the field of early childhood education?
At its most basic, early childhood education recognizes the fact that children literally leave the womb designed to learn. The moment they first open their eyes, neurons in their brains begin a lifelong journey of creating connections. Those connections rule everything a child does, from walking and talking to abstract thought. And, the most exciting part is that the more connections a child’s brain makes early on, the more “brain power” that child has available later on, making even more learning possible.
This simple fact points to the vital importance of early childhood education. Those early years of exploration and brain growth are simply too important to a child’s future mental development and educational success to be ignored. That is where early childhood education professionals come in. They work in schools, preschools, daycare centers, even hospitals and summer camps – anywhere that children in the preschool years can be found. Early childhood educators can work directly with children, but they can also work behind the scenes, creating programs, performing screenings, developing curricula, allocating funding, training teachers, writing textbooks and taking on vital administrative roles.