I love my job. Watching tiny people grow and learn is one of the most satisfying careers. Many people have the misconception that children are dropped off in the morning and we sit and play with them all day.
Have you ever spent a day with a toddler? Firstly, there is not a lot of sitting happening. If you multiply one toddler by ten or fifteen, there is even less sitting involved. These little people have the most inquisitive natures of anyone I know. They are a little like a super hero; able to climb the impossible, fit in spaces unimaginable, turn the tidiest room into a disaster zone, and place pieces of objects into body parts inconceivable, and that is in the first five minutes of the day! But while they are testing all these boundaries, they are learning, and we are helping them discover the world around them.
Teaching opportunities exist for little ones every minute of every day. Educators are there to assist small children to discover their world. While they are hiding in that tiny crevice, they are learning spacial awareness, leaping from that tall tower is developing physical skills and muscles to assist in running, jumping, then hopping and skipping. All the things that make a child school ready. The disaster zone is filled with opportunities as well. Picking up a block to balance on another assists grasp, co-ordination and control, all these things will help hold that texta that will turn into a pen to eventually write a year 12 essay or develop a computer program for something we all need and want, cutting with toddler scissors will strengthen those hand muscles that will assist our doctors save a life, our scientists discover a cure for a disease and a hairdresser make us feel good about ourselves. Digging or driving a truck along in the sand pit is the beginning of a career in engineering, architecture, landscaping, or mechanics. Every play experience we offer children is a learning opportunity and one that we pounce on to develop.
We spend a lot of time interacting with children, extending their thinking, teaching them the next progression, watching and learning what they like, and this is how we help them learn.
Each little person has a different need to learn. We plan our day to gain the utmost from each child. Some children learn best outside, and so we plan their learning for these times, others learn by rote, these are catered for with repetition at group times or when they play and we can add some form of song or poem to help them remember, many are hands on learners, and so we need to find activities that interest them enough enable us to then add the teaching.
The days are busy; our little super heroes are all so unique. I feel so privileged to be a part of the first phase of teaching. Call it babysitting if you like, but for me it is education, and so very rewarding.