10 Qualities of Great Early Childhood Educators

by | Aug 13, 2021

Patience, communication, and a love of young children are just a few of the qualities you’ll need if you want to become an early childhood educator. Young children move a mile a minute, aren’t always the best listeners and are learning just about everything as if it’s brand new. You might be the first adult outside of their family with whom they interact. That’s a lot of responsibility! But you may already possess many traits that will make you a great childhood educator. And the rewards are pretty awesome. Besides smiles, hugs, and adoration from your little fans, you can touch the future with the wisdom you impart, the moral lessons you teach, and the great example you set.

If you like children and want to make a difference in their lives, early childhood education lets you start at the beginning of it all. Which of these important attributes do you have?

1. Patience

Full of curiosity and excitement, and eager to learn, touch, and do, little kids can be impulsive and reactive. That’s why it’s so important for the adults in their lives to be patient, understanding, and calm. You need to understand that the children in your care may not always grasp what’s appropriate. It’s up to you to teach them. Show them the way and give them your unhurried time and attention.

2. Passion for Teaching

Teachers of all kinds step into the role because they just can’t imagine doing anything else. They were born to teach. Do you feel the same way? If you’re not excited about the work and responsibility of teaching young learners, you may need to find another career path.

3. Love for Young Children

Little kids can’t tie their shoes or zip their jackets or reason the way children even just a few years older can. But they’re so darn cute! If you’re going to shape their future, you have to love the age group and all the very different personalities you’re likely to encounter.

4. Caring and Compassion

Children require nurturing, tenderness, and love. You need to be warm and genuine to gain their trust and attention. And you have to care about the whole person and understand the obstacles they might face, whether it’s a boo boo at play time, or a home life that’s less than perfect.

5. Flexibility

You may begin your day with a fully formulated plan and then get completely derailed by your students. And it could be a regular occurrence. These youngsters are still growing and developing and sometimes operate on their own schedules. It’s important to be a thoughtful and organized planner, but also be willing to pivot when the circumstances call for it.

6. Empathy

Imagine being little and scared? It’s been a long time since you were a child, but you need to be able to empathize with those little kids and their big emotional feelings.

7. Creativity

Teaching this age group requires a comfort with arts and crafts, storytelling, exercise, and educational games. It’s important to keep things fresh and try new activities to keep your students and their short attention spans engaged.

8. Organization

Young children thrive on structure and predictability. Being well-organized will help you multitask, respond to competing needs at the same time, and have a structure in place that keeps things running smoothly. To hone your organizational skills, use whatever calendars, apps, and tools you can—so it makes your life—and those of your students—easy.

9. Communication Skills

You may be a great communicator with people your age, but how are you when it comes to children? It takes strong listening skills and the ability to articulate what you mean in a way that they’ll understand. You will also need to shift communication gears when you speak to parents, coworkers, and members of the administration.

10. Dedication

Your job will come with a lot of responsibility and reward. If you’re dedicated to helping young children adapt, learn, and grow during this young age, you will be effective and successful.


As an early childhood educator, you can work in a variety of settings, including preschools, Montessori schools, kindergartens, churches, childcare centers, and elementary schools. Are you ready to get started? Bluefield University offers both an associate and bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. Inquire now for more information.

Do I only apply once?

  • No. Students must apply each academic year for the fall semester and submit the necessary documents.

Do I have to take the classes specified in the Associate's Degree tracks as they are listed on the information sheet?

  • No. Students may take any of the courses that are offered in a given term.

Where do I find the textbook listing, and where do I purchase the books?

  • Log in to myBU, and under the "Student" tab, you will find a list of the textbooks required (if any) for each course. Students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks.

How long is a semester?

  • Our semesters are divided into two 8-week terms.

Is there an orientation?

  • Yes. Students can attend an orientation session that explains how to access courses, how to register for classes, and answers other questions.

Where can I find a course description?

Does the student need to take the SAT or ACT in order to take Dual Enrollment classes?

  • No. If a student decides to study at BU full time, BU is currently test-optional for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

Are the classes live? Do students need to log in and participate at certain times?

  • Classes are offered online, so a student can log-on and study at their convenience and their own pace. Students have assignments due each week; you can complete your assignments at any point in time before the deadline.

Does an Early College student need to come to campus for anything?

  • No. However, we would love to have you visit our campus if you are interested in continuing with traditional on-campus study. Students who complete their associate's degree have the option to walk at our commencement ceremony.

Are Early College students able to receive Financial Aid?

  • No. However, Early College courses are very affordable compared to other options. The cost for an online Dual Enrollment course is $100 per credit hour.

How do transferring credits work?

  • Each College or University completes a transcript review in order to decide which courses transfer. Sticking to general education classes generally makes transferring credits simple. All Early College courses at Bluefield University are general education classes that should transfer to another accredited institution.

Is an Early College student considered, and treated, as a transfer student when they become a full-time college student if they have earned enough credits to be a Junior?

  • No. Since they have not graduated from high school, they are considered a first-time college student regardless of how many credits transfer. However, by transferring credits when they enroll as a full-time student, they will have to take fewer classes to receive their bachelor's degree, which shortens the length of time to earn the degree.

Can I speak to someone if I have more questions?

  • Yes. Please contact the Office of Admissions by email or you can call them at 276.326.4231


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