Meet an Early Childhood Teacher
We caught up with Diana Penson, who has had over 40 years of experience in working in, teaching and studying Early Childhood Education. She has always been passionate about the welfare and education of children, calling it her “life’s work”. Diana currently works as a senior Trainer and Assessor at Open Colleges.
What courses did you study to become an Early Childhood Teacher? And tell us a bit about your current role.
Initially, to become an Early Childhood Teacher, I studied a Diploma of Teaching at Sydney Day Nursery Teachers’ College, which subsequently merged with Sydney College of Advanced Education and then Macquarie University. Further studies in the field of Early Childhood include a Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Special Education, Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees.
In addition to working with young children and their families, for the past 25 years I have been involved in adult education; developing, delivering and assessing Certificate Three, Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Bachelor of Early Childhood courses.
What does an Early Childhood/ Pre-Primary school teacher do on a day-to day basis
There is a variety of duties associated with being an Early Childhood Teacher and that’s what makes the job so fulfilling and interesting. Overall, it depends on the nature of the workplace, whether that be a community preschool, long day care, the infants’ department of a school, outreach/mobile service, etc.
Common to all settings are duties such as developing daily routines, maintaining a safe and comfortable environment, providing appropriate supervision, monitoring children’s learning and progress, planning and implementing learning activities and addressing cultural and/or additional needs
What skills do you think an Early Childhood Teacher should have?
The essential skills, from my perspective, begin with having a thorough knowledge of child development, communication skills, enthusiasm and passion for the education and welfare of young children, patience and a sense of humour, respect of individual differences, creativity and adaptability. Be willing to learn and develop new skills throughout your career and respond to the rapid changes and increased complexity of today’s world.
What are your favourite things about working in the field of Early Childhood Education?
Throughout my career, I have been provided with many diverse opportunities, not only to hone and extend my skills, but also to experience the satisfaction of working closely with young children and their families, combined with a realisation of the important role one plays in their lives. To me, teaching young children is absolutely exhilarating.
There is nothing more rewarding than, through the planning and implementation of quality programs, knowing you have played an important part in positive outcomes for all aspects of a child’s life. I have never lost sight of the joy of being with young children, sharing in their delight over learning something new, a funny rhyme or simply enjoying each other’s company.
What advice would you give students aspiring to work in the field of Early Childhood Education?
Teaching young children isn’t like any other profession. The opportunities are endless. It’s much more complex and challenging than just loving to be around children and wanting the best for them. In saying that, however, the ethos and overriding commitment to the welfare of young children, the codes of conduct, the rights of the child, and your interactions and relationships with them, need to be at the core of your approach to the job. Find a mentor, a teacher who inspires you. Like children we learn from our experiences. Reflect and learn from your experiences. Enjoy each day.
Thank You, Diana, for sharing your story with training.com.au