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Important Qualities When Working with Children
by Kevin Stuckey, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
There are certain qualities that teachers and parents should possess that prove beneficial when working with and motivating young children. These simple teaching tools are instrumental in achieving the shared joy and success of children.
Enthusiasm for Children
One of the most important characteristics for teachers and parents to exhibit is an enthusiasm and passion for children. This means not only enjoying being around children but also wanting to make a difference in the life of each child. Teachers and parents should strive to unlock every child’s door to learning while modeling and teaching ways to overcome any obstacle a child may have.
Patience and Humor
Working with young children takes huge measures of patience. At times, it can be frustrating; therefore, teachers and parents must be able to respond calmly to overwhelming and difficult situations. The nature of their age makes young children rambunctious, with short attention spans and little self-control. Understanding that every child is different makes teaching even more challenging. After a long, tiring day, teachers and parents of young children wake up and meet the same and new challenges the next day. A patient nature, combined with a sense of humor, helps teachers and parents take the ups and downs of each day in stride.
Communication Skills
When working with young children, teachers, parents, and all others who share an interest in the child’s development should practice effective skills of communication on the child’s level. Teachers and parents must also be observant of behavior and understand the varying emotional needs of young children.
Respect of Differences
Every child has a unique personality and learning style. To reach and teach each child effectively, teachers and parents must respect these differences and work with each child’s learning style, rather than forcing the child to adapt to another. In our global society, teachers and parents must also prepare young children to live in a multicultural society represented by many ethnicities, cultures, and traditions. An environment where these differences are not merely tolerated, but welcomed and embraced, creates an open and exciting learning atmosphere.
Creativity and Flexibility
Planning activities for young children that engage and educate at the same time takes creativity. Adapting lessons and life experiences to individual learning styles requires flexibility. Regardless of how organized a teacher or parent is, and how well she plans for the day, she must be prepared to handle all the glitches that can throw everything off schedule. This typically requires revising plans and ideas throughout the day. Working with children is also physically taxing; therefore, teachers and parents must have a lot of energy!
Resources
“Qualities of a Good Teacher in Early Childhood Development” by Barbara Bean-Mellinger Retrieved 2-23-17 http://work.chron.com/qualities-good-teacher-early-childhood-development-8694.html
“National Association for the Education of Young Children: 12 Characteristics of Effective Early Childhood Teachers” by Laura J. Colker (2008) Retrieved 2-23-17 from http://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200803/BTJ_Colker.pdf
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Preschool Teachers, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm (visited February 23, 2017). Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015
 
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