Sensory awareness, or the act of noticing a particular sensation, can be interesting and surprising. Whether becoming aware of the blueness of a clear sky or the softness of a new shirt, these moments of awareness are often pleasant, and can let people experience familiar things in new ways.
For young children, developing senses lead to many of these kinds of moments, and this presents both opportunities and challenges for early childcare assistants.
If you’re curious about how sensory awareness can affect the way you interact with children in your workplace, here are a couple of points you might consider.
1. Considering an Early Childcare Assistant Career? Sensory Play Is Great Stimulation for Kids
Play time doesn’t need to be about “doing,” necessarily. Kids spend a lot of time in a state of sensory awareness, and can get lots of value out of simply experiencing their different senses. PBS points out that “Children… learn best and retain the most information when they engage their senses,” and states that investigative play time—time during which kids can touch, play with, and explore an object—helps “develop and refine cognitive, social and emotional, physical, creative, and linguistic skill sets.”
Guiding children to play in ways that engage different senses is a great way to help them develop their minds. Consider playing music together, introducing different play materials like “oobleck,” or playing with shadow puppets to get kids to engage with their senses.
2. Future Early Childhood Assistants: Sensory Awareness Can Be Embarrassing for Some Kids
It might not seem like a big deal, but “getting caught” enjoying sensory stimulation like listening to a favourite song or touching a soft fabric can be embarrassing for some people. If you’re thinking about pursuing an early childcare assistant career, this is a good thing to keep in mind.
In a paper entitled “Sensory Awareness,” written for the University of Nevada’s Department of Psychology, researchers speculate that the reason for this potential embarrassment is that sensory awareness is typically a reaction to “what feels good… in a very sensual way,” and “sensual interests are intensely personal.”
The best approach to deal with this embarrassment will be different from child to child, but knowing the potential for this phenomenon will be helpful when going into the classroom.
3. Children With Disorders May React Differently to Sensory Awareness
Though sensory awareness can often be a pleasant experience, for some children—particularly those with developmental disabilities that have affected their sensory system—they can present a challenge.
According to Autism.com, for some children, “Sometimes one or more senses are either over- or under-reactive to stimulation.” which can lead to “behaviors like rocking, spinning, and hand-flapping.”
For example, once you become an early childcare assistant, if you see a child cover their ears when music plays, then they might be oversensitive to sound. Children who are under sensitive, on the other hand, might seek out loud noises or other sensory experiences. By being aware of these reactions to sensory awareness, you can adapt your lessons accordingly.
Some kids may have a difficult time reacting to sensory awareness
Sensory awareness can be great fun, and is an essential part of childhood cognitive development. It also poses a few challenges that future childcare assistants might want to keep in mind while working alongside kids.
An early childcare assistant career lets you teach kids fundamental skills
Working with children is one of the most important and enriching jobs anyone could have. The ability to teach children values, manners, and the fundamentals of what they’ll learn in school is a precious job that should not be taken lightly.
Due to the level of influence in this position, it is not a job that anyone can just jump into. Luckily, there are short-term programs that teach students the different skills they will need to successfully become early childcare assistants. On top of that, some of these programs offer placements as part of the process, in order to make sure graduates are ready for this important position when they finish school.
Interested in a career in early childcare? Read on to find out three benefits of doing a hands-on placement.
1. Early Childcare Training Teaches Students How to Create a Positive, Safe Atmosphere
There are a couple of things that children need in their early years in order to thrive as they grow older. Primarily, they need to feel safe, they need to be engaged, and they need people to pay attention to them. Doing these three things will create an atmosphere in which children can explore their creativity, learn from their peers and elders, and develop into attentive, curious students. Professionals who have gone through early childcare training understand this and have taken many different classes to ensure that all children under their care have the attention and direction they need to thrive. For example, they learn the fundamentals of health and safety, first aid, and child development, among many other topics.
Completing a placement after learning all of these skills in the classroom will allow you to put those skills into practice, and develop the hands-on methods with which you will interact and engage with students throughout your career.
Early childcare training teaches you the value of creating a safe, positive environment
2. A Hands-On Placement in Early Childcare Training Allows You to Observe Pros at Work
The early years for a child are crucial to their development and offer insight into the kind of people that they’ll grow up to be. An early childcare assistant career puts you in a position to guide these children as they begin to make sense of and explore the world around them.
The easiest way to ease into this role is to see others in action and learn from them. Hands-on placements generally involve both observation and active participation, but because you can do both, you’ll never feel unprepared or overwhelmed. Watching professionals at work allows you to appreciate the value of everything you’ve been learning and see how it translates to the real world.
3. A Placement Lets You Confirm an Early Childcare Assistant Career is Right for You
A career as an early childcare assistant gives you the flexibility to work in such varied places as daycares, preschools, and not-for-profits. It is a growing field with tons of opportunities for career stability and growth. It relies on the development of interpersonal relationships between childcare workers and children, which means that it will never be phased out by technological advances. There will always be children and those children will always need to be taken care of, so working as an early childcare assistant will always be in demand. That kind of stability and the emotional satisfaction of helping a young child begin to grow are incredibly valuable.
A hands-on placement lets you experience working in this rewarding profession so that you can confirm this is the right career and right path for you.
An early childcare assistant diploma lets you work in multiple fields
Careers that offer stability and a strong future outlook are hard to come by, not to mention ones that offer an immense sense of emotional satisfaction. Early childcare assistants help shape the future generations; why not take part in that?
Amazing placements! National Academy students are required to complete mandatory job placements in order to gain valuable experience for their future careers. Use this opportunity to learn from experienced mentors. Observe how Early Childcare Educators handle disruptive situations and watch how they diffuse tense situations.
Great things happen often! Like our Instructors, Early Childcare Assistants are a happy bunch. They are excited about their work each day and this directly impacts how they will excel in the workplace. Remember, a child’s first teacher is often the one he or she remembers the most which means you could be that person in the life of the children you teach.
You will become more flexible. Although young children need a consistent schedule, you will learn to always allow for the unexpected. Children are inquisitive and spontaneous by nature. This also makes them quite fun to be around! What if snow starts falling or a school bus arrives outside? You will learn to make use of these simple, teachable moments and bring them into everyday life!
You will start the day with a smile. There is something about working with children that makes it possible to smile, even when you don’t feel like it. Not only does smiling make you feel good, it will reassure parents that you will care for their child and the children feel more comfortable as well!
Your cleaning skills will be top-notch! Kids make a mess! Make sure your classroom is tidy and safe at all times. Making lists of potential hazards and keeping things orderly will prevent accidents from happening. A bonus of working in a clean environment is that it also directly affects your health in positive ways!
Respect for others. Working as an Early Childcare Assistant will help you to realize that each child has a different learning style. Some children learn best in visual mode, others in auditory mode and some learn best in a kinesthetic style including using their hands to feel, touch, and explore. By evaluating each child and finding his or her best learning style you will help in their educational process.
Making a difference. Different children come from different family environments. Sadly, some of the children you are working with may even be living in homeless shelters or dysfunctional families. They may exhibit aggressive behavior, signs of withdrawal, or disruptive conduct. Realize that a structured environment, consistent daily routine, compassion and shared control between adult and child are critical for a distressed child. You can help to be a consistent rock in a child’s life.
You don’t ever have to stop learning. If you love learning, this is the right job for you! Always keep an open mind. Read recent reports on child care. Consider upgrading your diploma or take refresher course at National Academy – All NAHB graduates are welcome to take a refresher course at any time.
Be social and have fun! Being an active member of a professional organization provides you with a network of like-minded individuals! These events can actually be quite fun with the right bunch of people! You can learn from others, meet new people in your field and have a wider network for future job opportunities. It also proves your serious about the career you chose.
You get to be a professional. Having a good working relationship with others is always important. Keep relationships professional at all times and focus on the children. Sure, working with kids is fun but always remember that you are one of the highest ranked employees within a childcare centre. Learn from this opportunity and it will take you far in life. Being friendly and courteous to teachers and parents ensures all will be confident leaving their children in your good hands.
For more information about National Academy of Health & Business and our Early Childcare Assistant program, please visit us online www.nahb.ca for more contact information.
Technology provides today’s children with easy access to more information than ever before. Through television, computers, tablets and more, children are exposed to so much at such an early age. While there are many advantages associated with the rise of technology, there are also a few disadvantages. One such disadvantage is that most tech items tend to keep children indoors. Studies have shown that this can leave children feeling disconnected from the outside world.
On the other hand, nature offers endless opportunities for hands-on learning and play. Nature Education is a growing trend in schools and other educational institutions, because it benefits the physical and intellectual development of children, as well as their overall sense of well-being.
Read on to learn a few of the reasons why nature education should be a part of your early childcare assistant career.
A Good Early Childcare Assistant Knows the Outdoors Promotes Exercise
Once you begin your career, you’ll notice that most daycares and preschools don’t have gymnasiums. As a result, you might find that the outdoors is a great alternative to having children run around inside the classroom.
Nature is a great place for young children to develop their motor skills. For instance, throwing a ball will help them develop their strength as well as their reflexes. An experienced early childcare assistant knows that the there are many other outdoor activities which help children develop their motor skills, such as pushing a swing or pulling a wagon. Additionally, the outdoors provides children with a lot of space to move and play, so they can get the exercise they need to stay healthy.
Early Childcare Training Teaches Students the Educational Benefits of Nature
Being outdoors also helps young minds develop in a variety of ways. During your early childcare assistant career, you can help educators develop activities that allow children to learn new things, which they otherwise wouldn’t indoors. For example, children can explore the natural habitats of plants and insects, or they can learn more about the textures of earth’s materials like soil, water and rocks. These are great ways to introduce kids to topics like science and ecology.
Being in nature also helps with language development. This is because children will begin looking for new words to describe things like birds, animals, and the environment around them.
Nature education is a great way to engage a child’s natural sense of curiosity.
An Early Childcare Assistant Knows Nature Boosts Creativity & Problem Solving Skills
Nature helps children to be much more creative and observant. Being outside and experiencing nature with all of their senses can help develop a child’s observational skills much more effectively than if they were to watch an educational program about nature. This type of learning makes children feel more connected with their environment.
Studies have shown that when they are outdoors, children tend to engage in much more creative activities, and they are also more cooperative with others during outdoor play. Additionally, certain activities can also help children develop their problem-solving skills. By asking children to collect all of the outdoor equipment and put it away, for example, an early childcare assistant is actually helping children work together to solve a problem—cleaning up.
Nature education in early childhood years encourages children to adopt healthy emotional, behavioral, and lifestyle patterns that can last a lifetime!