Early Childhood: What is the Role of an Educator?

Childcare and early learning centres provide essential support services. When it’s time to return to work, parents need a trustworthy carer for their child. As parents have the most significant influence on their child’s development, what is the role of an Educator in early childhood?

The demand for early childhood education and care is rising. The number of families and children using approved care rose dramatically between June and September in 2018. If you’re looking for a career in early childhood, now is one of the best times to make your move. 

Do you know the different educational roles and the qualifications required for working with children in the early childhood sector? Childcare services in Australia often have different early learning structures.

In this article, we’re going to outline the different career roles for an Educator at Petit Early Learning Journey. Read on to discover the roles and responsibilities for the:

  • Early Childhood Educator
  • Lead Educator & Educational Leader roles
  • Early Childhood Teacher
  • Assistant Centre Director
  • Centre Director

Exploring the role of an Educator at Petit Early Learning Journey

The duties and responsibilities of an Early Childhood Educator

At Petit ELJ, we take a holistic approach to the care and development of children in our care. We focus on the physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing of a child. This holistic approach encourages Early Childhood Educators to inspire children’s curiosity to create and explore their environment. 

Educators work as a team within a Centre studio to implement and exceed the NQS quality areas. They observe the children within their care, documenting their experiences and evaluating their daily care routines. They’re responsible for every child within their care.

Children’s health and safety is a key quality area. As part of a team, our Educators work with a Lead Educator to manage a child’s behaviour and learning. Our goal is to maintain a healthy, safe and secure environment for all children. 

In this role, you would be expected to work as a member of a team. Working together, you provide routines and structure that respond to the children’s needs in your care. Maintaining professional, caring relationships with children is essential. Other duties include:

  • Managing hazards and risks.
  • Treating each child with dignity and respect.
  • Communicating regularly with families through applications like StoryPark.
  • Respecting diversity and being inclusive while considering a family’s cultural and/or socio-economic background.

We expect our Early Childhood Educators to demonstrate an understanding of the different theories and contemporary pedagogy of early childhood development. A Certificate III in Children’s Services (or equivalent) is essential.

You’ll also need a current drivers licence, Child Protection Course Certificate, a First-Aid Certificate with a Resuscitation Certificate and training in Asthma and Anaphylactic emergencies. We also require our Educators to hold current Working with Children checks or a Working with Vulnerable People Check or Current Teachers Registration.

Early Childhood Educator inspires a baby with play-based learning.

Lead Educators and the Educational Leader role

Lead Educators at Petit Early Learning Journey, collaborate with the Centre Director. They lead a team within their studio to create opportunities to develop the potential of every child. In this role, you supervise other Educators, volunteers and students in a studio.

The Lead Educator’s position builds on the duties of the Early Childhood Educator. It’s essential that you can work in a team to maintain awareness and responsiveness to the developmental stage requirements of the children in your care.

In the Educational Leader role, you support Lead Educators and Educators across all studios to:

  • Mentor other educators, observing their interactions with children and making suggestions to assist with intentional teaching.
  • Establish systems across the service to ensure a continuity of learning.
  • Identify and participate in professional development opportunities.
  • Lead reflective discussions about the practice and realisation of the early learning framework and our learning program.

You can succeed in these roles with a Certificate III in Children’s Services (or equivalent), while actively working towards a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and care or equivalent or a Bachelor of Early Childhood.

The Educational Leader Role supervisors children and other Educators.

The qualifications you need to become an Early Childhood Teacher

If you want to be an Early Childhood Teacher, it’s essential that you have a Bachelor of Early Childhood (or equivalent). You should also have significant experience within a recognised and accredited childcare facility.

The Petit Early Learning Journey Early Childhood Teacher are leaders in their studio. They provide operational direction and supervision of staff on their team. They’re also responsible for the guidance of other Educators within the Centre up to this level.

The Early Childhood Teacher works closely with the Centre Director. Their primary role is to prepare, implement and evaluate developmentally appropriate programs for children in their care as individuals and within groups. This position also includes:

  • Coordinating the state’s Early Childhood guidelines and curriculums (such as an approved kindergarten or preschool program).
  • Observing children daily and using those observations to ensure the needs, strengths and interests of children are met.
  • Gathering and documenting detailed information on each child, including:
    • Development profiles.
    • Portfolios.
    • Individual progress records.
  • Ensuring learning programs develop self-help skills like washing hands.

Early Childhood Teachers develop supportive relationships with other Educators. Together you maintain a secure and active environment for all children. And, you may be asked to take on additional roles such as the Centre’s Workplace Health & Safety Officer.

The Early Childhood Teacher role incorporates the duties of Lead Educator but also consults with other Lead Educators and Early Childhood Educators to provide support, input and resources.

Early Childhood Teacher encourages a preschooler with early learning.

Stepping into the Assistant Centre Director role

At Petit Early Learning Journey, the Assistant Centre Director is the 2IC. They provide invaluable support to the Centre Director and take on the management responsibilities of the centre when the Centre Director is away. 

They also assist with the management of the childcare centre by:

  • Developing and managing relationships with stakeholders in the community.
  • Managing the professional development needs of Centre staff.
  • Nurturing the development of professional, caring relationships between Centre staff, families and the children in our care.

A natural progression for the Assistant’s role is into the Centre Director’s role. At Petit ELJ, we always look within for enthusiastic star performers committed to providing a quality childcare service.

How to become a Centre Director

The Petit Early Learning Journey Centre Director fills the most senior role within our Centres. They’re responsible for all the children. They also supervise all other Centre staff and are accountable for any guests, volunteers and parents who come on-site. 

The Centre Director is also accountable for the management and administration of our centre and for implementing the NQS and EYLF. As well as those areas mentioned under the Assistant Centre Director’s role, other responsibilities include:

  • Organising an educational program in accord with legislated frameworks, that provides every child with opportunities to develop their potential.
  • Maintaining a healthy, safe and secure environment, especially for the families and children in their care.
  • Managing the Centre’s budget. As well as being responsible for the Centre’s expenses, Centre Directors are also responsible for occupancy rates.
  • Providing a warm, friendly and inclusive environment for all of our families.
  • Recruitment and retention of Centre staff in partnership with their Petit Early Learning Journey Recruitment Manager and Area Manager.

Do you have leadership experience as a Centre Director or Assistant Centre Director? Can you manage and work within budgets and delegation of authorities? Our decision to hire considers your commitment to leading a high-quality childcare service and knowledge of the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority. 

You will also need to have a Diploma in Children’s Services (or higher).

Centre management and early learning is a team approach led by the Centre Director

Ignite Your Career in Early Childhood with Petit Early Learning Journey

Are you seeking a career change to a childcare service with a holistic approach to early learning and care? At Petit ELJ, we aspire to create environments that are enchanting and inviting for all children and their families.

Do you have the right qualifications or studying towards them? If your values and beliefs align with ours and you are genuinely passionate about caring for children, then we want to hear from you. Make a positive change to a child’s life and in yours.