Education and care careers

Educators and teachers work in a range of early childhood settings including long day care, family day care, occasional care, kindergarten and outside school hours care.

Early childhood teacher

Early childhood teachers support the learning, development, health and wellbeing of young children, including babies and toddlers.

Roles and responsibilities include:

  • observe and assess children’s development and learning
  • record children’s progress and liaise closely with parents and other professionals to support children’s learning and development
  • plan activities to develop learning and development
  • promote language development and self-confidence and encourage children to question, explore and be aware of their world
  • promote health and safety concepts and social interaction with other children
  • work to assist children as part of a team with professionals such as maternal and child health nurses, other educators and teachers, early childhood intervention specialists such as speech pathologists and psychologists.

Teachers work in metropolitan, rural or remote areas including Aboriginal communities

Qualifications

School subjects

Useful subjects include:

  • English
  • maths
  • art
  • health and human relations
  • psychology

University subjects

To qualify to become an early childhood teacher you generally need to complete at least four years of tertiary study, including at least one year of teacher education study.

The most common qualifications are:

  • a four-year undergraduate childhood qualification (e.g. Bachelor of Early Childhood Education)
  • a ‘pathways’ course allowing those with an approved diploma in children’s services to complete a degree in early childhood education

Early childhood teacher registration

All Victorian early childhood teachers are required to be registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching. Teachers who do not register will need to have a valid legal exemption.

For more information about the registration process, see: Victorian Institute of Teaching

Early childhood educator

Early childhood educators were previously known as kindergarten assistants, child care workers or child care assistants. The new title reflects the importance of play-based learning in fostering children’s growth and development in their early years.

Roles and responsibilities include:

  • plan and implement individual programs based on observation of what children know and understand
  • prepare and supervise play and learning materials, maintain a safe, clean and appealing environment
  • observe, assess and record children’s learning and development, and liaise closely with parents and other professionals
  • support the participation of children with additional needs in the program
  • perform basic first aid in emergencies
  • help children with daily routines and promote health and safety concepts
  • guide and promote positive social interactions between children.

Qualifications

School subjects

Useful subject include:

  • English
  • maths
  • health and human development

University subjects

There are a range of qualifications and training opportunities that will open the door to a career as an early childhood educator. These include a VET qualification in education and care such as:

  • Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Certificate IV in School Age Education and Care
  • Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Diploma of School Age Education and Care
  • Certificate IV in Training and Assessment

Other pathways include pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeships, traineeships or school based apprenticeships in children’s services.

Information on the training and qualifications of staff in Victorian Children’s Services is found on the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) website.

Educational leader

An early childhood educational leader is responsible for working with educators and children to develop a program of activities and experiences that support learning.

The leader must have knowledge and experience about the way children learn and about quality educator practice as their role is also about promoting positive educational philosophies.

Roles and responsibilites include:

  • provide educational leadership to educators, teachers and administrative staff of early childhood services
  • coach and mentor educators to support children’s learning in the five learning and development outcomes (identity, community, wellbeing, learning and communication)
  • support high quality teaching and learning for children in a service
  • represent the organisation in networks and committees that focus on children’s learning
  • develop and review policy, course curricula and teaching/learning materials drawing on a deep understanding of educational theory and practice
  • collaborate and work with parents and families as partners in children’s learning.

They may work in metropolitan, rural or remote areas including Aboriginal communities.

Qualifications

School subjects

Useful subjects include:
  • English
  • maths
  • health and human development
  • psychology
  • science
  • arts
  • music

University subjects

Qualifications will vary according to the exact role, but could include:

  • Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Diploma of School Age Education and Care
  • Bachelor of Early Childhood Education
  • Bachelor of Education
  • Bachelor Degree plus Graduate Diploma of Education
  • Certificate IV in Training and Assessment