What is it like to work with children every day — not just as a nanny or an au pair, but as an ECD (Early Childhood Development) practitioner?

ECD is a unique career

Children do not need only to be taken care of until they are old enough to start school. The early childhood stage between birth and primary school is actually a time when children develop some of their most important cognitive abilities, attitudes, and skills. An ECD practitioner is a teacher or professional in a unique position with a unique set of skills to facilitate this process.

What does an ECD practitioner do?

Where a nanny or babysitter might engage in play-time just to keep children busy, an Early Childhood Development practitioner will do it with very specific developmental goals in mind. Your daily life on the job might therefore include any or all of the following:

  • Assessingchild’s developmental needs, deficiencies, and goals.
  • Developing a child’s language skills through songs and stories.
  • Choosing and facilitating activities that help a child to develop motor skills.
  • Promoting interaction between children to ensure healthy social development.
  • Promoting healthy psychological development through activities focused on aspects such as confidence building.
  • Interacting with parents and other professionals to discuss a child’s progress.

You will also need to consider the health and safety of the children under your care, ensuring that they develop healthily in a safe environment. If there is an emergency, you will also need to know how to respond to it.

Where does an ECD practitioner work?

‘ECD practitioner’ sounds like a very daunting and technical title, but it actually covers a number of different roles. You might find work as an ECD professional in:

  • Day care centres
  • Pre-schools
  • Paediatric institutions
  • The social work environment

As an ECD professional, you might be employed as a:

  • Teacher’s assistant at Grade R level
  • Day care worker
  • Social worker’s assistant

With the right training, qualifications, and experience, you could even become a day care centre manager or administrator.

How do you become an ECD practitioner?

Because an ECD practitioner plays such a vital role in childhood development, not just anyone can become one. You need special skills and knowledge. For this reason, you need formal training and a recognised qualification to become an ECD practitioner.

Oxbridge Academy offers distance learning courses for National Qualifications in Educare, aimed at preparing you for a career in ECD, as well as an occupational certificate that is aimed at preparing you to operate as an Early Childhood Development Practitioner in centre-based and non-centre-based early childhood development settings:

By studying these courses, you will learn all about the following important subjects:

  • Educational Psychology
  • Child Health
  • Education
  • Day Care Communication
  • Day Care Management
  • Day Care Personnel Development

Getting your training and a qualification is the first and most important step towards becoming an Early Childhood Development Practitioner.

To find out more about studying your Educare National Certificate from home, you can click here.