Updated December 2022
If you’re passionate about helping young kids explore, learn, and realize their potential, you’re wise to be looking into a career as an early childhood educator (ECE).
These professionals have an enormous impact on the lives of their students.
ECEs provide a child’s first experience of education outside the home. Their job is to help young kids meet developmental milestones and get off to a good start on their journey through school and life.
Eager to pursue this challenging and rewarding career? Wondering what it takes to become an early childhood educator in Quebec?
Have a look at five straightforward steps that can help you get started.
1. UNDERSTAND THE ROLE OF AN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR
First, you need to be clear about the scope of the role.
Early childhood educators can work with kids up to age 12. Some ECEs get hired as teaching assistants in elementary schools, where they provide extra support under the supervision of a licensed teacher.
However, most ECEs focus on the five-and-under set. They take on positions in daycares and preschools.
In these settings, you could be responsible for:
☑️ Supporting children during the dropoff and pickup transitions
☑️ Planning and leading age-appropriate activities that promote learning (reading stories, singing songs, doing crafts, building forts, etc.)
☑️ Developing routines that include independent exploration, active play, and rest time
☑️ Helping children learn proper dressing, eating, and toileting behaviours
☑️ Maintaining an inclusive and secure environment
☑️ Monitoring each child’s progress and noting any areas of concern
☑️ Communicating with parents
2. REFLECT ON THE SKILLS YOU NEED TO BECOME AN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR
You obviously have to love being around young children if you want to become an early childhood educator.
But there are a few other key traits that are central to the role. To thrive in this career, you need to be:
☑️ An excellent communicator
☑️ Able to establish and maintain trust with kids
☑️ Patient and compassionate
☑️ Organized yet flexible
☑️ Eager to develop new skills
☑️ Prepared to be a role model
Sora New has 15 years of experience in daycares and preschools. She says successful ECEs have a special mix of traits.
“I’ve learned from my own experience that being patient, open-minded, and willing to learn new things and challenge yourself are core qualities for ECEs.
You need these characteristics if you want to excel in the education field. Remember, no two days are the same with young children. You need to grow with them, too!”
3. RESEARCH THE JOB MARKET FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS IN QUEBEC
What’s the career outlook for early childhood educators in your area? This is a key thing to know before you invest time and money in ECE training.
Fortunately, the future looks bright. The Quebec government says ECEs should have very good employment prospects province-wide through 2025.
Remember: As an ECE, you can find opportunities in preschools, daycares, elementary schools, and special education centres. You could even choose to open your own child care centre.
4. DECIDE BETWEEN AN AEC AND A DEC
The next step is to decide what kind of early childhood education program you want to complete: an AEC or a DEC.
An AEC (attestation of college studies) in early childhood education takes 2 years or less. It focuses on the specific knowledge and skills you need to get hired as an ECE.
This is the fastest route to employment in preschools, daycares, and special education centres.
A DEC (diploma of college studies) takes 3 years. It includes ECE-specific courses as well as classes in areas like humanities and literature.
DEC holders can choose to continue their education with a bachelor’s degree in child studies or education. So if your goal is to eventually become an elementary school teacher, you may want to get a DEC.
But keep in mind that you don’t need a degree to become an early childhood educator. If you want to get started in your new career as soon as possible, an AEC is an excellent option.
5. LOOK FOR ECE TRAINING THAT EMPHASIZES HANDS-ON TEACHING
Quality ECE training gives you a taste of what it’s like to work in an actual daycare or preschool.
A program that lets you practice with real toys and try out different activities will help you learn how to develop an effective curriculum.
LOOKING TO BECOME AN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATOR?
Employers at daycares and preschools look for ECEs with college diplomas. So you need to find a quality program.
Check out the Early Childhood Education training offered by Herzing College Montreal. It’s designed to get you job-ready fast.
The program takes 14 to 24 months, depending on the pace you choose.
Two internships are included, so each student gets a total of 8 weeks of hands-on experience in local daycares.
Click below to get complete program details and chat live with an Admissions Advisor. We’re here to help!