Character counts: what are parents, children and employers looking for?
The Sector > Jobs News > Character counts: what are parents, children and employers looking for?

Character counts: what are parents, children and employers looking for?

by Freya Lucas

April 21, 2023

Working in early childhood education and care (ECEC) is an exciting prospect for new educators, with chances to build relationships, shape the lives of children, and support families to give their children the strongest start in life. 


Sometimes those who are new to the sector, or who are contemplating joining the ECEC workforce, wonder about what children, families and employers are looking for in their ideal educator. 


While each service, setting and context is different, there are some broad characteristics that are applicable across many service types and sites. 


What do children typically respond to? 


Children typically respond to a worker who:


  • Can show pleasure and enthusiasm in their company
  • Share their interests and accomplishments
  • Listens to them carefully and respectfully
  • Provides them with a play environment that is challenging and engaging. 


Parents prefer…


Parents often want their children’s carers to:


  • Be friendly
  • Be skilled and well trained
  • Consider the family’s needs
  • Recognise that their child is special.


Co-workers like to work with people who:


  • Believe in their work
  • Are enthusiastic and cheerful
  • Are able to be responsible and take initiative
  • Enjoy working in the team
  • Are open to new ideas
  • Have a sense of humour, and are healthy and energetic.


How does this play out across the day? 


ECEC professionals spend a large part of their day interacting with children and colleagues. 


They are responsible for tasks such as supervising children to ensure that they are safe, preparing activities and experiences, meeting children’s needs such as food, drink, sleep and hygiene, as well as their emotional needs. They do this by encouraging independence or by being there to provide physical or emotional support when needed.


ECEC professionals foster children’s natural curiosity to make sense of the world around them through experiences that are real and meaningful. This may include creative experiences such as dramatic play, painting, collage and construction, exploration of the natural world, social development, communication and language development.


In out of school hours care settings ECEC professionals may be involved in working with children in a range of recreation and leisure experiences. This may include sports, movie making, drama, music and excursions involving bowling, theatre, surfing, exploring national parks and heritage sites. In partnership with families, ECEC professionals may also support children’s transition to school and homework requirements.


Communication with parents is also important in order to share information relevant to their child and involve them with the service.


To learn more about what it’s like to work in ECEC, please see here

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