Child Development Program Career Facts
Nature of Work
Child development workers are care providers, teaching assistants, teachers or directors in early education and child care centers or family child care homes. They provide quality care and education for infants, toddlers, preschoolers or school youngsters in both full-day and part-day programs. They promote the intellectual, physical, social and emotional development of children through positive interactions and developmentally appropriate activities. Program directors are responsible for the entire daily operation of the center.
Young children learn mainly through play. Recognizing the importance of play, child development workers build their program around it. They plan activities and interactions that capitalize on children's play to further language and literacy development (storytelling and pretend play), improve social skills (working together during play with blocks), and introduce scientific and mathematical concepts (balancing and counting blocks, when building a bridge or mixing colors when painting). Thus, early education and care teachers help children learn through active involvement with materials and people. Techniques include small group activities, individual interactions, and learning through creative activities, such as art, dramatic play, and music.
Interaction with peers is an important part of child's early development. Preschool children are given an opportunity to engage in conversation and discussions, and learn to play and work cooperatively with their classmates. Child development workers play a vital role in preparing children to build the skills they will need in school.
Employment of child development workers is projected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2010. Many child development workers leave the occupation each year to take other jobs, to meet family responsibilities or for other reasons. Qualified persons who are interested in this work should have little trouble finding and keeping a job.
Skills You Need
Early education and childcare work requires patience, creativity, flexibility, and the ability to nurture. Good communication and positive guidance skills are essential. Teachers and directors must possess leadership, teamwork and organizational skills, and the ability to problem solve.
Salaries vary widely according to job status and agency. Current starting salaries may be $7 to $15 per hour for child care workers. Director salaries may be higher. Pay depends on the educational attainment of the worker and the type of establishment.
Health and Human Services
Health and Human Services Bldg, Room 108
Phone: (517) 483-1410
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