An early childhood education certificate prepares teachers to work with young children from infancy to third grade. Many professionals who obtain an early childhood education certificate teach preschoolers who are 3 to 5 years old but positions can also be found in elementary schools and daycare centers. Teachers can specialize in management or special education within the early childhood field.
Some states began initiating preschool programs in 1980. Early childhood education has continued to emerge because of changes in society and family structure. As these programs grew, colleges across the country began to offer early childhood education degrees.
Types of Certification
According to guidetoonlineschools.com, the field of childhood education is generally split into two different approaches: the child-focused and the family-focused. Child-focused programs include preschool programs designed to promote child development and improve a child’s chances of being successful in school. Family-focused approaches to early childhood education include parent training programs and family support programs. Students can concentrate in areas such as management or special education within the early childhood education field.
State departments of education set their own standards for certificate programs. There are also numerous programs available at community colleges, universities and online. It is important that prospective teachers enroll in accredited early childhood programs that follow the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s guidelines.
Benefits of Early Childhood Education
According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children “The intent of an early childhood education certificate is to ensure that all young children and their families have access to qualified early childhood teachers.” While training is not standard in every state, certification does call for prospective teachers to gain specific knowledge and understandings that are specific to newborns to age eight.
There is a misconception that women send their children to preschool so that they can work, however, there are many stay-at-home moms that send their children to preschool so that the youngsters are ready for kindergarten.
Early childhood education certification is based on the theories of the cognitive psychologist Jean Piaget, the social constructivist Lev Vygotsky, the progressive John Dewey and multiple intelligences creator Howard Gardner. Emphasis is placed on engaging social activities, learning through play, giving children choices and introduction to subject areas.
There has been a growing need for prospective teachers to receive training and learn the standards set by National Association for the Education of Young Children. These standards are designed to train staff to become knowledgeable in providing quality education to young children.