Early childhood teachers

Early childhood teacher with preschoolers in classroom

Early childhood teachers work with children in their formative years (typically aged between two and five). They introduce them to the school environment and help them to develop key skills that provide the basis for all future learning.

Role and responsibilities

Early childhood teachers help children develop language and vocabulary as well as elementary numeracy, and improve physical and social skills.

Early childhood teachers work with groups of children or one-on-one, depending on the type of lesson and the child's needs. Being able to relate to young children and understand how they learn are key attributes of early childhood teachers.

Work activities

A typical work day for an early childhood teacher in a NSW public school may involve:

  • Planning activities to develop creativity and an interest in learning, physical skills, social skills and self-confidence using a variety of equipment and materials
  • Using storytelling, drama, music and discussion to develop language and vocabulary
  • Encouraging children to question and explore
  • Listening to children, including interpreting words and actions to determine a child's individual needs
  • Promoting health and safety concepts
  • Assisting children with their toileting and personal hygiene
  • Detecting signs of developmental disorders, ill health or emotional disturbance
  • Attending to sick children and comforting those who are hurt or distressed
  • Promoting awareness and appreciation of multicultural diversity
  • Observing, assessing and recording each child's development and learning
  • Liaising with parents, other teachers, support staff, health and wellbeing professionals, and early childhood intervention specialists such as speech pathologists and psychologists.

Qualifications

To become an early childhood teacher, you will need to complete at least four years of tertiary study, including an accredited teacher education program, at a recognised university or higher education institution, such as:

  • a Bachelor of Education (Primary)
  • a combined or double degree, for example, a  Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education (Primary)
  • an undergraduate degree and an accredited graduate entry teaching degree, for example, a Master of Teaching (Primary)
  • Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood and Primary).

If you are a graduate of an approved early childhood teacher education program, you may be eligible for employment in pre-schools and in primary schools where you can teach children from Kindergarten to Year 6.

If your early childhood teaching qualifications cover all the primary key learning areas for students up to Year 6, and if you have had in-school experience in a Years 3-6 setting, you may be eligible for employment in a primary school teaching from Kindergarten to Year 6.

Further information about the requirements to become a teacher in NSW can be found on the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards website.

Salary

Find out what early childhood teachers get paid.

Employment prospects


At present, the supply of primary qualified teachers is more than adequate across the state of NSW, with the exception of a small number of positions in high-demand locations.

To increase your employment prospects as a teacher in NSW public schools, consider becoming a high-demand teacher or teaching in high-demand locations.

Next steps

Find out how to become a teacher in NSW public schools.