This essay examines the components that contribute to being an effective early childhood educator. Effective early childhood education has been shown to be an evolving and complex process, and is influenced by many factors. These factors include a deep understanding of the theories and philosophies of many pioneering and contemporary pedagogues, such as Piaget, Montessori and Vygotsky and studies emerging from Reggio Emilia in Italy. Researchers have found, that unless the educator is working in a specific theory based environment, for example, a Montessori school, or a school where Piagetian practice is implemented, the contemporary pedagogy will base lesson plans on a selection of these theorists idea's and concepts rather than the entire philosophy ( Edwards & Hammer, 2006).
To be an effective contemporary early childhood educator, one must be empathetic ( Wesley, 1998; Wood, 2008). More specifically effective early childhood educators should be empathetic to the children in their care, the child's family and other co-workers. This reflects that the educator is willing to listen, relate to others and therefore be integrated as a respected and trusted member of the school and wider community.
As an effective early childhood educator, creating strong partnerships with children and their parents, as explained by Shonkoff et al. (2000; as cited in Wood 2008) has shown that to provide a productive learning environment a teacher must have a positive relationship with children and their families.
The ability to accept new idea's and practices and a willingness to adjust the curriculum in accordance to specific cultural and social influences has been suggested to be another important factor for the effective early childhood teacher. With the onset of the information age for example pedagogues need to adapt lesson plans accordingly to reflect and stay abreast of the changing learning environment ( Heider, 2009).
This essay will expand on the above points by reviewing how previous researchers believe that educators can be effective and the effects these factors have on early childhood education.
Piaget, Frobel, Montessori and in more recent times Vygotsky, are a selection of theorists and philosophers who's idea's have helped shape the framework of early childhood eduction in Australia and other Western nations ( Edwards & Hammer, 2006). Historically these Westernised pedagogical pioneers have helped shape the contemporary early childhood curriculum based on a series of principles. These principles are evident and still relevant in contemporary teaching. Edwards and Hammer (2006) believe based on selection of these theories that childhood is a valid part of life and all learning is linked. Recognising a child's ability and acknowledging the various stages of development, and providing a safe and stimulating environment are paramount to early childhood learning. Edwards and Hammer (2006) also state that early childhood education stems...