Early childhood educators are set to benefit from future industry growth as the Government pushes reforms designed to make kindergartens universally accessible, according to QUT Professor Ann Farrell.
Professor Farrell, head of QUT’s School of Early Childhood, said now was the time to join the profession.
“Investment in quality early childhood education and care services has been on the rise across the globe in recent years and the importance of investing in this area has been well documented in Australia,” she said.
“A national early childhood reform agenda is currently being progressed with the aim of increasing access to higher quality services prior to school, including providing universal access to kindergartens for all families.
“In Queensland, there has been significant investment in establishing new kindergarten programs and, in the Moreton Bay region alone, ten new centres have been built or planned and more than 25 kindergarten programs in long day care services have been funded.
“These new services are creating increased demand for degree qualified early childhood teachers which, in turn, is opening up employment opportunities for early childhood graduates.
“At the moment, there is so much happening in early childhood education and care.”
Professor Farrell said prospective students might be unaware of the big changes in the profession and may not realise the range of employment prospects for degree qualified early childhood teachers.
“Many of the students we teach start their degree with aspirations to go in to primary schools where they can teach children in Prep to Year Three, but when they learn of the opportunities in kindergartens, long day care services and other child and family support services, their career plans begin to change to incorporate these new opportunities,” she said.
“As well as the flow-on effects of the reforms, many of the large early childhood organisations are recruiting degree qualified graduates to lead educational programs in their services, adding to the growing list of reasons to study an Early Childhood degree.
“Many of the large service providers are now targeting graduates and offering enhanced wages and conditions to attract and retain good early childhood teachers.”
Although the list of reasons to study early childhood has grown in recent years, Professor Farrell said the most rewarding aspect of working in early childhood has not changed.
“Being an early childhood teacher is one of the few careers where you know you can make a significant and lasting difference on the life of a child,” she said.
For more information about studying a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) at QUT’s Kelvin Grove or Caboolture campuses, visit www.qut.edu.au/education
Sandra Hutchinson, QUT media officer, 07 31398 9449 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Rose Trapnell, QUT media team leader, 07 3138 2361.