Read on to find out more!
There can be few things more rewarding than seeing a child blossoming under your care. With the first seven years of a child’s life offering the largest window of opportunity for development, ECD practitioners are essentially the people who lay the foundations for learning and the love thereof.
The phase between birth and school-going age (preschool or crèche). This is when children learn foundational cognitive abilities, attitudes, and skills, preparing them for primary schooling and the rest of their lives.
What qualifications should you be aiming for?
If you’re looking for a career in ECD, then usually the minimum qualification required to be considered for a job is a National Certificate: N4 Educare. Subjects covered in this one-year qualification include child health, education, day care personnel development and educare didactics.
This is an entry-level qualification that equips you with basic skills in childcare, making you eligible for entry-level positions at ECD facilities such as day care centres, crèches or preschools.
The N4 qualification is also a good platform for furthering your studies in childcare, allowing you to pursue your N5 and N6 ECD qualifications and ultimately a national diploma or degree. These qualifications will greatly enhance your knowledge of the field and make you a stronger candidate when it comes to applying for jobs.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer to immediately study towards a university degree and you meet the entry requirements, you can apply for a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Development: Foundation Phase).
How do you start building practical experience?
In addition to your qualifications, employers in the ECD sector often look at whether you have some practical experience in the field.
While studying your qualification, you could potentially seek out part-time work or volunteering opportunities at ECD facilities to start gaining practical knowledge and experience in the field. You could, for example, apply to be an assistant at a crèche or day care centre in your area. Some of these facilities may be willing to subsidise your study fees in exchange for you working for them. As an added bonus, if you impress with your performance and work ethic, you may find yourself walking straight into a job after your studies!
During or after your studies, you can also sign up for the Department of Higher Education and Training’s free placement service – iWIL – so that you can be matched with a suitable employer offering opportunities for Work Integrated Learning (WIL) or Workplace Based Learning (WBL) in ECD.
What jobs will be available to you?
Once you’ve completed your training and have gained some practical experience, you will find a variety of opportunities opening up for you in the thriving ECD field.
• Grade R teacher or assistant Grade R teacher*
• Playschool teacher
• Day care centre assistant
• Crèche assistant
• Au pair
• Private tutor
*If you want to work as a Grade R teacher, you will need a degree. If you hold an N6 Diploma in Educare, you will be allowed to work as an assistant Grade R teacher.
Once you have some experience in these types of job roles, there is a good chance that you will be able to progress to a higher-level job such as ECD manager or preschool principal. You could even consider starting your own ECD centre!
Start your path to an ECD career with these Childhood Development Courses from Oxbridge Academy.
If you’re looking for alternatives to a university degree, remember that with Edgars Club, you can save R1000 on an Oxbridge Academy course of your choice. All you need to do is call 021 1100 200, and quote the following voucher code: EDG2018