Education Scholarships

Guide to Scholarships

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Numerous studies from the past few decades verify that children the ages of three and four benefit significantly from receiving prekindergarten education. Such advantages result in a variety of aspects, such as improved mathematical abilities, strong language skills, and higher literacy rates. One long-term study from Chicago even demonstrated that children who participated in the program from preschool through third grade were less likely to be involved in or commit a crime and they were more likely to receive a full education than those who did not participate in the program.

Where to Find Scholarships

Early childhood education (ECE) scholarships can be found nearly anywhere, from your local grocer to international professional associations. You will find teaching scholarships specifically for men, women, minorities, and disabled individuals. The majority of scholarships are for graduating high school seniors or those who have completed their GED and are about to begin their first year of higher learning. It is also possible to find scholarships dedicated to graduate programs, licensure programs, and continuing education. However, there are significantly fewer of these scholarships. <

Some scholarships will be recurring or renewable each year until you graduate as long as you maintain a certain grade point average (GPA); however, other scholarships will be limited to a one-time award. It is a great idea to begin at the local level. Small towns and rural communities will offer a wide variety of scholarships for intended majors, success in extracurricular activities, community involvement, and much more. The same is true of school districts in larger towns and cities; however, the competition is significantly higher in larger areas. You can also look to religious affiliations in your community.

Your state and prospective school will also offer scholarships. The same is true of nonprofits, local and multinational businesses, and charities. It is important to apply to as many as you can because fewer people take the time to apply for scholarships than you think. The most they can do is say no. Just be sure to meet the application deadlines, complete the requirements, and try to only apply to those scholarships which are meant for someone in your position. If you do not qualify for a scholarship, do not waste your time. Only apply for scholarships for which you are qualified.

Professional Associations

A professional association is a dedicated group of teaching professionals who either meet in person or network online to share in professional development and industry support. Some associations will have conferences, online courses, live stream interviews, and networking events. Other associations will have job boards, community activities, industry blogs and monthly meetings.

Each association you join adds credibility to your resume and potentially will improve your pay during performance reviews. It can also help you learn about new job opportunities and acquire stronger references and letters of recommendations as well as to stay on top of current trends. Many education-focused professional associations offer scholarships, such as the Joanne P. Hammes Scholarship Fund offered through the American Montessori Society.

Federal Government

The federal government provides financial assistance in a number of ways for all students. In some instances, scholarship exclusively is reserved specifically for future teachers. The scholarships that are offered by the federal government are directly related to financial need in most cases. In some cases, they might be offered to minority groups pursuing an education career. Each state has a T.E.A.C.H. branch that offers scholarships to aspiring teachers. The government also offers Pell Grants to eligible applicants for students pursuing any degree.

Colleges

Colleges also provide scholarships to incoming students for early education majors. These scholarships are often recurring with varying degrees of exceptions and requirements. You must maintain a certain GPA throughout the time you are pursuing the degree course. You must major in the degree program for which the scholarship is dedicated if there is a specific degree requirement.

Many scholarships are reserved for education students who require financial assistance. And if you transfer schools, the scholarship does not transfer with you in most cases. One such example is that Iowa State University has over 30 scholarships dedicated to education majors and many are specific to early childhood education majors.

Non-profits

Non-profits are yet another source of scholarship support. Many non-profits understand the importance of early childhood education and future teachers. Non-profits are known to help those in need. Most scholarships focus on prospective early childhood education teachers that require financial assistance, those who are minorities or those who are proven to have a remarkable track record in academics, social contributions, and moral character. These types of organizations work to give back to communities and one of the best ways they can do so is to help contribute to teachers who will make a positive impact.

Businesses

Businesses are also invested in exceptional teachers to provide them with a superior talent pool from which to select their future employees. As such, many small businesses and medium-sized businesses invest in education scholarships. And many corporate enterprises give back to prospective educators through scholarships, including the Apple Distinguished Educators Program and the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation.

Early Childhood Education Degree Scholarships

You will find potentially hundreds or thousands of early childhood education degree scholarships. Some of these scholarships will be dedicated to ECE specifically; whereas, others will be dedicated to future teachers in general. Be sure to look at all scholarships for education majors no matter whether the scholarship is for college and university expenses, licensures, or for conferences. Every scholarship will help provide you with a brighter future and to help you become a better teacher.

  • Inspire Our Future Scholarship

    Amount: $500

    Deadline: April 01

    The Inspire Our Future Scholarship is provided by Teacher.org. This organization advocates for prospective teachers and other education positions. Some of the majors of people who qualify for the $500 scholarship include early childhood education, child development, special education, and a general degree in education. You can be in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or a doctoral degree. Applicants must be at least 18, a legal US resident, and hold a minimum 3.5 GPA. US territories and Puerto Rico residents do not qualify. The same is true of any person, family member, or persons with the same residence of any Teacher.org employee or those with any affiliation to the organization.

  • American Montessori Society Teacher Education Scholarships

    Amount: Varies (Average of $3,000)

    Deadline: Spring

    The American Montessori Society (AMS) recently provided $70,000+ in scholarships to roughly 24 aspiring teachers, many of whom are early childhood education majors. The AMS consists of a wide variety of teachers, families, friends, schools, and teacher education programs working to make education stronger and more effective throughout the world. Eligible applicants must be enrolled in affiliated teacher education programs of AMS. You might also already be accepted or about to be accepted to an approved program. You will be required to submit your need for financial assistance, your acceptance letter, and three letters of recommendation. The final recipients will be chosen by an unbiased committee.

  • Bright Futures Scholarship for Early Childhood Teachers

    Amount: Up to $1,000

    Deadline: June 09

    Bright Futures Scholarship for Early Childhood Teachers provides several scholarships ranging from $250 to $1,000 for prospective ECE teachers. The organization is dedicated to providing a better start to all children and they believe that starts with the teachers of young children. You have to be enrolled full-time into an accredited program to apply. Eligible applicants must have experience working with children younger than the age of six for at least nine months, proven excellence in major coursework, and a minimum GPA of 3.0. Qualified applicants must also have at least 15 completed credits in an associate degree program, 30 completed credits in a bachelor’s degree program, or acceptance into a master’s degree program when the application is submitted.

  • Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation

    Amount: $20,000

    Deadline: Varies

    The scholarships available from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation are available through three programs that are nationally recognized. Out of the nearly 96,000 applicants, only 150 will receive a scholarship from the annual endowment. Applicants should demonstrate their ability to serve and lead their communities as well as a commitment to impacting communities and schools in a positive manner today, tomorrow, and well into the future. Eligible applicants must be students graduating from high school, a home-schooled program, or attending specific DoD schools. These students must be in pursuit of a degree at a US accredited higher learning institution. If you are the child or grandchild of an employee of any Coca-Cola division, you are not eligible. The same is true of those already graduated from high school, temporary residents, or international students outside of the approved DoD schools.

  • Gates Millennium Scholars Program

    Amount: Varies

    Deadline: Varies

    The goal of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program is to provide support to all American citizens. The program is designed to create an equal playing field to those typically underserved in higher learning institutions, such as outstanding students who are African Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Islander Americans, and Hispanic Americans. One thousand students will be awarded each year by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Applicants in pursuit of an undergraduate degree can pursue these scholarships. If you are pursuing a few specific areas, including education, you can also apply for funding for a graduate degree.

  • Applegate-Jackson-Parks Future Teacher Scholarship

    Amount: $1,000

    Deadline: December 31

    Applegate-Jackson-Parks Future Teacher Scholarship dedicates $1,000 to one student who exemplifies the superior principles and high professional standards similar to those for whom the scholarship was founded. Applicants can be undergraduate or graduate students of US higher learning institutions. Employees, officers, directors, and family members of the National Right to Work Committee, Members of the Selection Review Committee, and the National Institute for Labor Relations Research are not eligible to apply. You will be required to complete an essay, a transcript, and a formal application. Applicants will also be required to prove their understanding that you do not have to join a union and the dangers of teacher unions to the education system.

  • AFT Robert G. Porter Scholars Program

    Amount: $8,000 (4, 4-year Awards); $1,000 (10, 1-time Awards)

    Deadline: March 31

    The AFT Robert G. Porter Scholars Program will provide four $8,000 scholarships for 4 years to those applicants who are children or legal dependents of members of the AFT. An additional 10 members of AFT will receive $1,000 grants to each to be used for continuing education or to strengthen their unions. Eligible students for the $8,000 must be graduating high school seniors. A legal guardian or one parent must be an active member of the AFT. The children and dependents of union staff do not qualify for these scholarships. Recipients will be required to maintain a 2.75 GPA to continue receiving the renewal of the scholarship. To be awarded the scholarship, students must demonstrate involvement in the community and school activities, leadership, special skills, and work experience.

  • Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program

    Amount: Varies (55-70 Awardees/year)

    Deadline: Last Tuesday in August

    The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program offers financial assistance to up to 70 recipients, and many scholarships are recurring. These scholarships are dedicated to teachers who wish to teach science, math, technology or engineering to students between the grades of kindergarten and year twelve. The program is designed to assist teachers in school districts that have a high demand for STEM teachers. Program recipients are required to work with various associations to help determine the best strategies and practices for selecting, attracting, and preparing new elementary and secondary teachers to be able to be effective as STEM teachers.

  • Lasting Legacy Scholarships

    Amount: Entrance into Conferences

    Deadline: September 28

    The annual Lasting Legacy Scholarship Awards are provided by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Applicants must be student members in the need of professional and skill development as an early childhood education professional. You will have to complete an application online and provide a letter of recommendation, a resume, and essays. You will have to demonstrate your accomplishments directly related to your work with children who are younger than eight. As a recipient, you will also be compensated for expenses related to the National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development the year in which you receive the award.

  • Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship

    Amount: $2,500

    Deadline: April 15

    The National Education Association (NEA) sponsors the Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship valued at $2,500 to be awarded each year to a worthy recipient. Applicants must demonstrate their financial need and interest in becoming a dynamic educator. You must enroll in an accredited education degree program as a full-time student, maintain at least a 2.5 GPA, and provide a transcript, an essay, and letters of recommendation. All applicants must actively participate in student activities for the NEA.

  • Teacher Education Assistance College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program

    Amount: Up to $4,000

    Deadline: October 31

    Each state has their own program for a Teacher Education Assistance College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program. To qualify, you must enroll in a TEACH grant program. The program requires that you complete specific types of classes to prevent the grant from converting into a loan as dictated by the US Department of Education in 2018. If you become a recipient, you will earn up to $4,000 each year. You will be required to teach in a lower income area or an area in need. You can work at an elementary school, secondary school, or an agency serving families in need. And you must work in these areas for at least four years within eight years of degree completion.

  • Jewish Community Centers of North America Graduate Education Scholarship Program

    Amount: $5,000/Semester (Max. $20,000)

    Deadline: June 1 (Fall and Spring Semesters); October 1 (Spring Semester Only)

    Five students who are enrolled in a graduate degree program full-time will be eligible for the Jewish Community Centers of North America Graduate Education Scholarship Program. Each student will qualify for the semester-based $5,000 scholarship. This award will either be dedicated for one to four semesters to each recipient. For those applying and pursuing a degree in education, you must be pursuing a master’s degree in either health, physical education, or early childhood education. If you are awarded a scholarship, you will be expected to participate in and complete a field placement position at a Jewish Community Center.

Scholarships by State

  • California - CSUB Adele Davis Scholarship Endowment

    Amount: Varies

    Deadline: December 1

    The CSUB Adele Davis Scholarship Endowment was created by the chair of the CSUB Music Department in 2005 on behalf of his wife and her love of being a first-grade teacher. This scholarship is dedicated to those who intend to become an elementary school teacher and study at California State University, Bakersfield. You will have to complete a general application to be considered for the scholarship.

  • Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah - Boundless Opportunity Scholarship

    Amount: Varies

    Deadline: Varies

    The Boundless Opportunity Scholarship (BOS) is provided to non-traditional students enrolled at two-year and four-year higher learning institutions in Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado. You must demonstrate your need for financial support and meet one of the following requirements: be an adult returning to higher education or entering college for the first time, a GED recipient, a former youth of foster care, a former juvenile justice youth, returning military, a person pursuing paramedics or EMT training, or a person pursuing a certificate in early childhood education. Scholarship money can be distributed to both direct and indirect expenses, from tuition to health insurance.

  • Florida - Minority Teacher Education Scholars Program

    Amount: $4,000 ($2,000 per semester)

    Deadline: July 1 (Fall), November 30 (Spring)

    The Minority Teacher Education Scholars Program is a statewide initiative that extends to 35 institutions. The scholarship is dedicated to various minorities, such as African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans. The participating higher learning institutions also vary, from private to public colleges and universities with teacher programs that have been approved by the state. Applicants must be a junior with 60 credit hours or have an associate’s degree without any previous bachelor degrees of completion.

  • Georgia - DECAL Scholarship Program

    Amount: 80% of tuition costs (depends on PELL aid and what type of institution you are in; public or private, bachelor’s or master’s) with a $200-$500 stipend

    Deadline: June 30

    The Georgia DECAL Scholarship Program is sponsored by the Department of Early Care and Learning. You can earn a scholarship that covers up to 80% of tuition expenses. This scholarship also provides a much-needed $500 stipend to be used as you see fit. You must be in pursuit of an early childhood education degree or a degree in child care administration. Your school of choice must be accredited, and you must be a US citizen or have legal permanent residency. Applicants must be employed with a licensed child care learning center and have six months of consecutive childcare experience. You must maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA for the scholarship to qualify for renewal.

  • Hawaii - PATCH Early Childhood Education Scholarships

    Amount: $750 per round (3 rounds per year)

    Deadline: January 15, May 31, August 31

    The PATCH Early Childhood Education Scholarship partners with the Hawaii Community Foundation to provide a $750 scholarship three times a year. This scholarship award is dedicated to early childhood education professionals in pursuit of continuing education. The scholarship is to be used for tuition reimbursement. Applicants will be required to enroll at an accredited Hawaii college and complete courses in early childhood education. You must also be a full-time employee at a licensed child care facility in Hawaii. Out-of-state courses will not be reimbursed.

  • Illinois - Golden Apple Scholars

    Amount: $2,500 - $5,000

    Deadline: March 1

    The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois gives preference to minority students who intend to pursue a degree in education and work in schools that struggle to keep teachers. You must be working toward a teacher certification through any higher learning course of action, such as an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. You must have at least a 2.5 GPA. You could receive up to $23,000 in total during your higher education experience and receive paid summer institutes that offer hands-on experience. Scholarships are awarded to students at every level, from freshman to seniors.

  • Iowa - Sally Gearhart Strottman Memorial Scholarship

    Amount: $10,000

    Deadline: December 1

    The Sally Gearhart Strottman Memorial Scholarship is dedicated to students at the University of Northern Iowa who are enrolled in the College of Education. Scholarship winners will receive up to $10,000 to be distributed throughout their undergraduate degree for up to four years. You must be an elementary education major, have a minimum ACT score of 27, and enroll in 30 credit hours each year. You will also have to provide references. Students who are incoming freshmen from Northeastern Iowa counties will be given preference.

  • Kansas - The Tomorrow’s Teacher

    Amount: $2,500 (renewable)

    Deadline: February 1 (KS State scholarship application), March 1 (Tomorrow’s Teacher application)

    The Tomorrow’s Teacher Scholarships are dedicated to Kansas resident high school seniors who wish to pursue a degree in education at Kansas State University. You will be required to write a 1,000-word essay to receive $2,500 each year during your undergraduate degree. Eligible applicants will be active in community service, have well-rounded life experience and common sense, and have a simple knowledge base of business.

  • Kentucky - Early Childhood Development Scholarship

    Amount: $1,800

    Deadline: November 15 (Spring), April 15 (Summer), July 15 (Fall)

    The Kentucky Early Childhood Development Scholarship is designed to provide some financial relief to students in Kentucky who are pursuing a career in child development or early childhood education. This might be in the manner of a child development associate credential, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or another similar program that has been approved by the Kentucky Early Childhood Development Authority. The scholarship is designed to guide the professional development of individuals who wish to work in ECE and early care. The scholarship is part of the KIDS NOW initiative for early childhood.

  • Louisiana - Lil and Roy Murphy Scholarship

    Amount: $500

    Deadline: October 1

    The Lil and Roy Murphy Scholarship is awarded by the Louisiana Early Childhood Association (LAECA). Each year, they provide $500 to an outstanding student pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree from an accredited degree program in child development or early childhood education. Applicants must be enrolled in either a two-year or four-year higher learning institution in Louisiana to qualify. You must also be a member of the LECA, maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, enroll as a full-time student, and provide a statement pertaining to your educational philosophy. You will be reviewed based on your leadership abilities, professionalism, communication skills, academics, moral character, and knowledge base of early childhood education issues.

  • Massachusetts - Early Childhood Educators Scholarship

    Amount: Pays for 9 credit hours at your school of choice (Based on credit hour cost)

    Deadline: June 1

    The Massachusetts Early Childhood Educators Scholarship program is offered through the Office of Student Financial Assistance. The idea behind the scholarship is to encourage more highly qualified students to work with young children. You must be a Massachusetts resident and a US citizen and be enrolled in an accredited degree program as an undergraduate. You cannot have completed a bachelor’s degree in the past. However, you should have been employed for at least 12 months in a licensed early childhood education care program. You will also be required to continue your employment, or you will be required to repay the scholarship money.

  • North Carolina - Education Lottery Scholarship (ELS)

    Amount: Varies based on FAFSA info

    Deadline: FAFSA deadline

    The North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship (ELS) is committed to providing tuition assistance to students who are planning to attend eligible colleges and universities within North Carolina. These can be students either enrolled in two-year or four-year degree programs for a minimum of six credit hours. You must be a North Carolina resident and meet satisfactory progress in academic standings as stated by the college or university. You must also be an undergraduate student who has never before earned a bachelor’s degree with an expected family contribution of less than $5,000 for your degree.

  • Washington - Early Achievers Scholarships

    Amount: $6,000 for Tuition and $1,000 for books (per year)

    Deadline: FAFSA deadline

    The Early Achievers Scholarships are dedicated to students who work at any Early Achievers facility. You must be pursuing an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or a certificate in early childhood education. A number of different scholarships are available for various career paths. This scholarship is sponsored by the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant. It awards up to $6,000 each year to those who reside within the state of Washington. You must also have experience working in childhood education, at least a 2.0 GPA, and enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours each year. You will also have to continue working for Early Achievers for at least one year upon completion of your degree program.

  • West Virginia - Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship Program

    Amount: Up to $5,000

    Deadline: March 1

    The Underwood-Smith Teacher Scholarship Program is dedicated to students in West Virginia who will pursue a degree in teaching. You will qualify if you are in pursuit of a degree in any level of education, from pre-k to secondary school. You will improve your chances if you are a junior, senior, or a graduate student. Applicants must be residents of West Virginia and must commit to teaching in West Virginia upon graduation for at least two years. All scholarships are dependent upon continued funding by the West Virginia State Legislature.

K12 Scholarships in Education/Teaching

College bound high school students planning to earn an Early Childhood Education degree can benefit from the number of teaching degree scholarships available to help finance their education.

Quality Early Childhood Education is vital to ensuring that children enter kindergarten ready to succeed, not only in the first years of school but throughout their entire lives. Studies have shown that children who do not receive such quality education are more than 60% more likely to not attend college and more than 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime.

Those college bound high school students with a calling to work with young children to help them develop the social and academic skills they need for success will find ten Early Childhood Teaching Degree Scholarships below:

  • Phi Delta Kappa Prospective Education Scholarship

    Amount: $500-$5,000

    Deadline: April 3

    Thirty Prospective Education Scholarships in amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000 are awarded each year to high school seniors or current undergraduates who are members of Phi Delta Kappa (or whose parents are members).

  • Bright Horizons - Bright Futures Scholarship

    Amount: Up to $1,000

    Deadline:May 17

    Scholarships up to $1,000 will be awarded to applicants with a strong desire to make a difference in the lives of young children. A GPA of 3.0, essay, and recommendations are required.

  • Jack Kinnaman Memorial Scholarship

    Amount: $2,500

    Deadline: April 15

    Jack Kinnaman was the vice president and former advisory council member of NEA-Retired. Jack cared deeply about his students and this scholarship was created in his honor to be awarded to those who need financial assistance to further their studies in Early Childhood Education. $2,500 scholarships are awarded to eligible students who are members of the National Education Association's NEA Student Program.

  • Montessori Teacher Education Scholarship

    Amount: (Average award was around $3,000 previously)

    Deadline: May 1

    Each year the American Montessori Society grants a number of scholarships to aspiring Montessori teachers with demonstrated need. Scholarship amounts vary; in 2018 the AMS granted 24 scholarships for a total of $71,200. Qualified candidates must be enrolled or accepted in an AMS affiliated teacher education program, submit a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation.

  • Georgia DECAL Scholarship Program

    Amount: $1,200-$2,500 (or 80% of tuition costs, depending on the award)

    Deadline: June 30

    Funded by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), the DECAL Scholarship Program provides students enrolled in a Georgia public or private institution the opportunity to receive 80% of tuition costs plus a $500 stipend. This program is intended to increase the number of credentialed and highly qualified early educators in Georgia.

  • TEACH Grants

    Amount: Varies

    Deadline: July 1

    TEACH Grants are federally funded grants of up to $4,000 per year for students who agree to teach in a high-need field in a low-income area after receiving their degree. High-need fields include foreign language, English as a Second Language, Mathematics, Science, Special Education, as well as other high-need areas as determined by state and local authorities. These grants require a specific work commitment after earning a degree so be sure to closely read the requirements.

  • Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program

    Amount: Up to 100% of Tuition

    Deadline: August 31

    Students attending schools in the Florida State University system may qualify for three tiers of scholarships which are based on high academic achievement: Florida Academic Scholars will receive 100% of tuition and related fees; Florida Medallion Scholars will receive 75% of tuition and applicable fees; the Academic Top Scholars Award is $44 per credit hour.

  • Massachusetts Early Childhood Educators Scholarship

    Amount: $2,250-$4,500

    Deadline: June 1

    The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education grants a number of scholarships from between $2,250 to $4,500 per semester to Massachusetts residents enrolled in a qualified public or private institution in the field of Early Childhood Education; these scholarships are intended to increase the quality and number of educators available to work with young children. Students who accept this scholarship must agree to work after receiving a degree in ECE for a specified amount of time in a program that is licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC).

  • Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA) Teacher Scholarship Program

    Amount: Up to $2,500/semester

    Deadline: May 1

    The KHEAA Teacher Scholarship Program provides up to $2,500 per semester for Kentucky residents pursuing a degree in teaching who demonstrate financial need. In exchange for this scholarship, graduates agree to teach for one semester at a school certified by the Kentucky Board of Education for each semester of scholarship money received.

  • Shawn Carter Foundation Scholarship

    Amount: $1,500-$2,500 (Renewable for 4 years)

    Deadline: April 30

    The Shawn Carter Foundation Scholarship is open to any US Citizen or Permanent Resident who is pursuing a degree and who has experienced challenging circumstances. The Scholarship was created to assist motivated, hardworking individuals with the financial burdens of higher education with the goal of helping deserving students reach their full potential. Scholarships range from $1,500 to $2,500 and are renewable for up to four years.

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Early Childhood Education (ECE) is the cornerstone of the foundation of educational development for all children. It is during this time when children have the best opportunity for long-term success in learning and developing. Early childhood education is defined as the education of children from birth through grade three, or age eight. Long gone are the days when starting your child off with education at kindergarten was considered a step ahead.

Today, children are already significantly behind in kindergarten if they do not attend preschool. Tomorrow, as more and more parents and public figures understand the importance of more comprehensive education at even younger ages, your child may begin learning fundamental social, cognitive, and academic skills in preschool. It is quickly becoming one of the most important steps in the academic success of children.

Why is Preschool and Kindergarten Important for Early Childhood Development

Research and studies have proven that Early Childhood Education is beneficial in a number of ways. During these formative years, children will begin to develop fundamental skills that will help them excel throughout their entire lives. It has been shown that children who receive formal education before kindergarten are far less likely to attend a special education class, have higher IQs, more easily learn any subject matter, have less behavioral issues, be more likely to complete high school and attend college, and be less likely to be involved in criminal activity later in life.

The data backing these results has warranted much-needed attention from lawmakers and government funding. While most states do not require children to begin their education careers until the kindergarten, and the age of seven in some states, many states are taking proactive measures to provide state-funded preschool and pre-kindergarten programs. These programs are offered to all children regardless of the socioeconomic standing of their parents. Some states offer such programs on a more restricted basis and some states do not fund preschool or pre-kindergarten programs in any way. As the positive results from these programs continue to be published and recognized, more funding will be made available and more states will work to offer similar programs to their young children.

Theories of Teaching 

There are several, some would say competing, theories of teaching/learning for young children. Though they all want the same thing, to teach children, they go about it in different ways and you might need special training to teach in any schools that use these unique teaching techniques.

Montessori

The Montessori methodology is meant to allow children to learn at their own pace. They also learn through playing where the toys act as a learning tool and help the children to self-correct. The teachers are there to act as a guide. This educational theory also places children from age three to five in the same room to help older kids act as role models.

Waldorf

The Waldorf philosophy has more stringent protocols. Any school that wishes to teach using this methodology must become Waldorf certified. These schools also follow a play-to-learn model only with more structure and routine. And like the Montessori model, the Waldorf will include children of various ages.

Reggio Emilia

The Reggio Emilia teaching practice uses a project-based approach to help children become interested in the exploration of life and to become better members of society. The lessons are developed by the interest of the students rather than dictated by the teachers. And the educational model focuses on kids working together to solve problems.

Self-Contained Classrooms

ECE classrooms are typically self-contained teaching classrooms. This means that one teacher or a lead teacher and support teachers educate students on all subjects in the same classroom. The classes are typically a bit smaller than older classrooms so that the teachers have the ability to work with young students on a more individual level. These classrooms might even be located in a K-12 building; however, they will have little interaction, if any, with the older students.

In fact, many school districts have self-contained classrooms through grade three as a way to better serve all children during their most influential developmental years. Subject teaching is typically reserved to grade four and higher in many states that continually have the best public education school systems.

Skills and Attributes

While many people believe they would like to make a substantial positive influence on future generations to make their lives easier and to improve their chance for success, not everyone is cut out to be an ECE teacher. It will be emotionally challenging, and you must be able to connect with both children and their parents. The following are some of the ideal skills and attributes for ECE teachers:

  • Passion
  • Patience
  • Dedication
  • Sense of Humor
  • Creativity
  • Communication Skills
  • Flexibility
  • Understanding of Diversity
  • Organization
  • Empathy
  • Creativity
  • Structure

Elements of a High Quality Early Childhood Education Program and the Classroom

An early childhood education teacher, your primary tasks are to prepare young people for the greatest chance of success throughout their entire educational careers. You will be responsible for the social, behavioral, and developmental skills of young children as well as their first learning experiences in all the basic subjects; English, Science, Math, etc. These are skills they will carry with them until they graduate high school. The following are some of the daily tasks and skills required to be a successful Early Childhood Education teacher:

  • Develop Schedules
  • Enforce Rules
  • Maintain a Safe Environment
  • Plan and Implement Lessons
  • Observe and Communicate
  • Supervise Children at All Times
  • Establish Routines
  • Build Self-Esteem
  • Promoting Literacy
  • Provide Age-Appropriate Activities

Career Options for Early Childhood Teachers

Preschool Teacher – A preschool teacher works with young children between the ages of three to five in most instances. They also help to teach basic academic skills and provide tools essential for social, behavioral, and developmental skills.

Elementary School Teacher – An elementary school teacher works with children from kindergarten to grade four or six. The age range will depend on the school district. These teachers are typically responsible for one grade. Teachers up to grade three will often teach in a self-contained classroom.

School Principal – A school principal is a person who manages the entire school. They are responsible for the teachers, budgets, disciplinary actions, curriculum, testing, and more. They are the primary administrators who make the major decisions for the children, teachers, school, and parents.

Professor of Early Childhood Education – A professor of early childhood education is responsible for teaching future ECE teachers. They will teach program participants the various teaching methodologies and work with them to develop the skills required to be successful teachers. They might even become mentors.

Special Education Teacher – A special education teacher will work with ECE students who require additional assistance outside of the traditional classroom in the areas of social, behavioral and developmental skills. These teachers often teach in a separate classroom for all children with special needs.

ESL Teacher – An ESL teacher is an English as a second language teacher. These teachers require even greater patience than most teachers as students in these classes do not speak English as their primary language. These teachers must also have a higher level of cultural understanding and sensitivity.

School Psychologist – A school psychologist works with students in a private setting on the school grounds to help them with their mental health. Students may need to see a school psychologist for a number of reasons, such as family life and behavioral concerns.