Emerging Trends in Early Childhood Education
Early childhood education is a rapidly evolving industry, growing both in size and substance. From higher-level early childhood qualifications to a greater utilisation of tech, here are some emerging trends in early childhood education to keep an eye on.
Learning Through Technology
Childcare centres have been using iPads and similar devices for some time now, for interactive learning experiences and educational games. The COVID-19 pandemic has fuelled a greater utilisation of tech, with even very young children now knowing their way around Zoom.
Incorporating technology in the childcare environment can promote higher engagement among children. In our increasingly digital world, it’s also important for kids to have strong digital literacy skills.
In the next few years, we can expect to see creative apps and interactive experiences become a larger part of the childcare experience.
Learning Through Play
The idea of learning through play is becoming more widespread in the childcare industry, with creative and active play being shown to strengthen brain pathways. Some examples of learning through play include:
- Movement play, such as engaging with nature, people or objects like toys and instruments
- Enjoyable play, which lets the child play with Play-Doh, Lego or whatever else they like
- Independent play, which involves letting a child play on their own (while also being supervised)
- Cooperative play, which gets the child playing with others to complete a puzzle or build a sandcastle
- Process-oriented play, which refers to the creation of new skills such as counting, listening or spelling.
Nature is also becoming a huge aspect of the early childhood education experience, although implementation differs from centre to centre. Some centres might focus on walks around the neighbourhood, while others might create a dedicated outdoor space for activities and play.
The great outdoors offers a huge range of learning opportunities and room for activities, including:
- Basic gardening
- Collecting shells, rocks or leaves
- Looking for little critters like snails, caterpillars or ladybugs
- Spotting birds in the trees
Aside from these hands-on outdoor learning activities, playing outdoors has also become more important for health reasons. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 1 in 4 children are now overweight. Promoting a healthy and active lifestyle from a young age is a growing priority in the early childhood education sector, with outdoor play being a big component of this.
Higher Level of Education Among Workers
Early childhood education is a large and robust industry, employing over 150,000 Australians and growing at an incredible rate of 17% over the last five years (Job Outlook). 31% of childcare workers hold a Diploma or Advanced Diploma, 35% hold a Certificate III or IV, while only 15% are working in the industry with only a high school certificate (you must be working towards at least a Certificate III qualification to secure employment in childcare).
There is a greater demand for strong early childhood qualifications, and the more educated you are, the higher your wages are likely to be.
If you’re ready to take the next step towards becoming a childcare worker, you might want to consider our CHC30113 Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care.