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What do Early Childhood Educators really do?

What do Early Childhood Educators really do?

June 7, 2023

You’ve likely heard the term 'Early Childhood Educator' or 'ECE' many times. And you might have an idea about the kind of work it involves. But did you know that certified early childhood educators are trained in the latest childhood developmental research and practices? ECEs apply this training every day to curate engaging and fun early learning environments that support development and growth at the most critical stage in a child’s life.

But what’s it really like? Well, here’s a snapshot of life as an ECE in a preschool setting.

Sound like a career you might enjoy? Check out the link at the end of the article to learn more.


Early rise, early development.

I start my workday by setting up my preschool room. Before the children arrive, I arrange activities on the tables, ensure the learning areas are inviting, fill up our water tray for sensory play, and begin cutting out the pieces for a spider matching cognitive skills activity for the following day. 

As each child is dropped off, I check in to see how their evenings and mornings went. These conversations help me to build relationships with the families and learn how I can best support each child’s day. Turns out, Andy had trouble sleeping and Maggie didn’t eat breakfast. I help Andy choose to play at the water table, a sensory activity that will help him self-regulate. Then I let my fellow ECE, Eric, know that morning snacks should be served a little earlier so that Maggie doesn’t get too “hangry” to enjoy playing. 

I continue to work on preparing tomorrow’s activity but then I hear Peter and Sophie arguing over who gets to be the chef. I walk them through age-appropriate problem-solving steps. Sophie lets Peter know that she needs the spatula to make pancakes, and Peter lets Sophie know that he needs the spatula to make eggs. I ask them if they know if we have another spatula available (we have three extras) and they both shake their heads. I suggest we look for them together. We find three blue ones. But they both want a red one. I ask who had the spatula first. Sophie admits that Peter did, and we work through asking Peter for a turn when he is done.

As soon as I’m back at my planning, Benjamin needs help with finding a specific pair of scissors to work on his fine motor skills. Then Theo, who has been working on his social skills, needs some help asking Catherine to play with him. This is followed by Claire, usually uninterested in books, asking me to read the octopus book that I put on our bookshelf to pique her interest in reading.

I check the big clock. It’s 9:15am and time to gather everyone together for our morning large group activity. The day is already in full swing.

Sound like a career you might enjoy? Learn more.

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