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Early childhood education: A career that matters
Published:  Aug 31, 2022 8:01 AM
Updated: 12:01 AM

Early childhood education is an important and impactful career. This is because early childhood educators interact with children and help them build foundational tools needed throughout their lives. 

In addition, parents are often busy with their work schedules, and some may not be able to teach their children such skills. Early childhood educators can support these children by providing them with quality care and promoting their development.

What is early childhood education?

Early childhood education is a field of education that seeks to aid in the development of infants, toddlers, pre-schoolers, kindergarteners, and elementary schoolers. The period from a child’s birth to the age of 8 is one where there is rapid brain development and thus, a crucial window of opportunity to educate them.

What does early childhood education involve?

This field of education is the foundation of a child’s life since it allows them to expand their physical, intellectual, social, and emotional development. 

Physical development revolves around training a child’s motor skills, like their ability to balance and grip items. 

Intellectual development teaches a child to improve their memorization and thinking skills. 

Social and emotional development work hand in hand to help a child understand how to make friends, share toys, and differentiate between good and bad behaviour.

Why is early childhood education important?

The beginning and early years of a child’s life are critical since the surrounding environment can significantly affect the growth and development of a child. 

With early childhood education, children can have the opportunity to learn vital skills that they need when interacting with those around them. It also offers a platform for young children to hone and grow their interests.

What will you study in early childhood education?

Early childhood educators need to understand the inner workings of children aged 0 to 8. This means they must study and understand the core aspects of a child’s development, learning, and behaviour. 

They will also learn about the many teaching methods and strategies to connect and engage with a child.

Some of the subjects that early childhood educators will learn during their course include:

  • Child Development.

  • Expression Through Art, Drama, Science & Mathematics.

  • Health, Safety & Nutrition.

  • Infant & Toddler Care.

  • Language & Literacy.

  • Learning & Play.

  • Professional & Communication Skills.

  • Programme Planning & Implementation.

Some institutions may require students to have a semester of internship or some practical training for hands-on experience working with children at childcare centres, preschools, and kindergartens.

Why study early childhood education?

Being an early childhood educator can definitely be a challenging job since there needs to be a lot of patience and dedication when working with children. However, those who have an interest in it will benefit from being early childhood educators.

Here are some reasons to study early childhood education:

You enjoy spending time with children 

Individuals who enjoy spending time with children and want to play an active role in their development at the crucial stages of their life would take joy in being an early childhood educator. 

People often pursue early childhood education because they like the personal reward and satisfaction that it brings from influencing future generations and making a difference in the lives of children. 

Ensuring that children get off to a strong start in their lives, teaching them skills that they will carry for life, helping them succeed, and aiding them in realizing their potential is a rewarding feeling for many.

It is a job that requires you to be hands-on and creative 

Early childhood educators tend to be fully involved in the development of children. 

They are responsible for building and creating curriculums that are best suited for the children they are teaching and for ensuring that the children have a steady development. 

Often, they would need to think of the most valuable ideas and methods to cater to the children under their care so that they would be able to achieve their developmental milestones.

There are a variety of jobs that can be pursued within early childhood education 

The field of early childhood education is constantly growing, meaning that the array of opportunities is more extensive for individuals interested in it. 

Opting to be an early childhood educator does not necessarily mean that the only career possible is being a preschool or daycare teacher. Some of the jobs that individuals can possibly pursue include being an ECE curriculum developer, educational toy consultant, and family resource worker.

You have the passion for teaching and learning 

Early childhood educators have the role of teaching and guiding the development of children, so individuals who enjoy teaching little ones will reap the benefits of this job. 

Even though the main job is to teach, early childhood educators will be learning too, as they need to comprehend new teaching methods and innovative lesson plans to keep young children engaged.

Is it good to study early childhood education?

Early childhood education is definitely a good career path because educators play a pivotal role in bringing up the children of the current generation and those of generations yet to come.

Who should study early childhood education?

Despite being a rewarding career, early childhood education is not a job for everyone. Here are some essential qualities if you are keen on working in this field:

  • You love being in the presence of children and are passionate about impacting their lives by helping their development.

  • You are patient when dealing with young children and can be sensitive to their needs.

  • You have strong organisational skills.

  • You can handle numerous tasks at once and deal with the needs of many children simultaneously.

  • You can keep calm when things go wrong and can come up with plans for worst-case scenarios.

Early childhood education requirements

In order to pursue a diploma in Early Childhood Education, an individual will generally need the following:

  • A minimum of 3 credits at the SPM level.

After completing your diploma, you can start working immediately or continue to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education.

In order to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Education, an individual will generally need the following:

  • A minimum of 5 credits at the SPM Level or any O-Level Qualification

  • A pre-university qualification

  • A-Levels: minimum of 2 passes

  • STPM: minimum CGPA of 2.0

  • Australian Matriculation: minimum of ATAR 50%

  • Canadian Pre-University: at least an average of 50%

  • Foundation in Science or Arts: CGPA of 2.0, depending on the university

Generally, an individual will need to have good grades in English and Mathematics. However, the entry requirements for a degree in Early Childhood Education will vary depending on the university of your choice, so it is essential to do your own research.

Early childhood education courses

Individuals interested in early childhood education can pursue a diploma, degree, and other postgraduate degrees. The requirements for each program will depend on the university an individual chooses to enrol in.

Early childhood education diploma

Here at UOW Malaysia KDU, we offer a Diploma in Early Childhood Education. Our program, which spans over a duration of 2 to 3 years, was created with the intention of developing knowledgeable, ethical, and professionally qualified educators.

How long does it take to complete an early childhood education course?

The duration of an early childhood education course depends on your qualifications thus far.

  • A foundation course will take around 2 to 2.5 years to complete.

  • A diploma will take about 2 to 2.5 years to complete.

  • A bachelor’s degree will take around 3 years to complete.

  • A master’s degree will take approximately 1 to 2 years to complete.

Individuals who complete a diploma and want to further their studies with a degree will enter directly into year 2 of a degree in early childhood education.

Early childhood education jobs

As mentioned above, there are various jobs that an individual can pursue with credentials in early childhood education. Here is a list of possible career opportunities:

  • ECE lecturer.

  • ECE curriculum developer.

  • Educational toy consultant.

  • Family resource worker.

  • Paraprofessional.

  • Child specialist.

  • Assistant teacher.

  • Kindergarten teacher.

  • Preschool teacher.

  • Kindergarten director.

  • Preschool director.

  • Kindergarten principal.

  • Preschool principal.

  • School teacher for private or international schools at the preschool level.

Early childhood education salary

According to PayScale, the average base salary for an early childhood educator is RM18,434 per year. An early childhood educator with 1 to 4 years of experience can expect to earn an average pay of RM 16,500 annually. 

Early childhood educators with 5 to 9 years of experience can earn an average of RM 34,200, and those with 10 to 19 years of experience can earn an average of RM 38,300.

What is the difference between early childhood education and preschool?

People often use early childhood education and preschool interchangeably, but the areas taught to children are different. Early childhood education revolves around the development of academic, social, and cognitive skills of a child from their birth to elementary school.


Early childhood education is a field that seeks to aid children in developing the many critical skills they will need for the rest of their lives. It can be a challenging job, but those who have a passion for teaching children will truly reap the benefits of being an early childhood educator.

This content is provided by UOW Malaysia KDU.

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