The Importance of Educator Etiquette in Early Childhood Education

Written by Z Staffing

Working as a childcare educator can be a rewarding experience. Showing up each day with a positive attitude can go a long way in letting you get the most out of your career. Practising the correct professional etiquette will benefit you, your coworkers, the childcare centre, and most importantly, the children. 

Etiquette is just one of the many traits childcare centres are looking for in a rockstar educator. Maintaining your own professional code of conduct is important when working in childcare — and even more so as a casual educator. If you are working across multiple centres, professional etiquette increases the likelihood of positive feedback and being welcomed back to the centre. This is ideal if you are working casually with the intent of becoming full-time or even if you prefer casual childcare jobs to maintain your work-life balance.

We have put together a simple guide to excellent and poor etiquette for early childhood educators, making it easy for you to make a positive impression in the workplace.

Excellent Etiquette for Childcare Educators

  • Be punctual.

    • Punctuality is a must. It demonstrates your work ethic, professionalism, and makes a good first impression. Arriving 15 minutes early is encouraged, as there is often paperwork, like signing in, required before the start of your shift.

    • If there is a sudden reason you can no longer cover a shift, speak to the centre immediately. Ensuring they have enough time to find replacement staff is a must in maintaining your relationship with the centre.

  • Wear professional and appropriate attire.

    • Most centres encourage black pants and a smart casual top. If uniforms are required for casual workers, this should be provided to you at the start of your shift.

    • Bring a wide-brimmed hat and make sure your clothing also provides some sun protection.

    • Wear closed-toe shoes as these are a WHS requirement.

  • Demonstrate a positive, happy, and friendly attitude.

    • Children lead by example, so it is important to present them with an approachable face that makes them feel safe and welcome.

    • This attitude should reach all staff members. For all employees, it is a common goal to work in a friendly team environment. A positive attitude can be the difference between a cordial workplace and a hostile workplace.

  • Be respectful and fair at all times.

    • Being respectful to children, parents, and staff is a big part of professional conduct. There should never be a time when children are treated unfairly or differently. You and your behaviour must be considerate of all views, thoughts, ideas, and cultures.

    • Respect goes further than just to others. You must be respectful of the property of others and the centre. Treat everything how you would treat your own possessions.

  • Communication is key.

    • Ask questions if you are not clear on what is expected from you for the day. Seeking clarity is obviously a preferred method over doing something incorrectly or making wrong assumptions.

    • Follow the centre’s policies and if uncertain, ask for guidance.

    • Complete documentation as required by the centre to ensure all their standards and requirements are being met.

  • Bring all relevant documentation to every shift.

    • This is a requirement of every workplace. You must bring your Working With Children Check certificate and any other certifications with you.

Poor Etiquette for Childcare Educators

  • Poor attire and dress.

    • Unclean clothes and clothing with rips, tears, or damage are not professional, even if they are fashionable.

    • Open-toe shoes are not safe for a working environment.

    • Tops with offensive graphics or logos are not acceptable when working with children.

    • In most workplaces, denim is not accepted — it’s just not professional.

  • Raising your voice.

    • It is not appropriate to raise your voice at the children. There are many other ways to address poor behaviour without resorting to yelling. Raising your voice has a directly negative impact on the trust relationship childcare educators have with children.

  • Disrespectful, unnecessary, and critical comments

    • Remain professional and calm when talking to staff and children. There is never a need to reprimand or chastise others with disrespectful, critical, and unnecessary comments. It can harm working relationships for all people. 

  • Don’t engage with gossip

    • Whether gossiping about the staff or children, this behaviour does not fit within any code of ethics or etiquette for any workplace.

  • Don’t leave the centre without returning items

    • It is important to return any property that belongs to the centre, whether it is equipment from the day or uniforms.

When early childhood educators practise etiquette, the child and educator rapport is strengthened. Children will develop trust, confidence, enthusiasm, and interest in all activities they participate in, creating a conducive environment for teaching, learning, and fun. After all, monkey see, monkey do — every child watches what the adults around them are doing and reciprocates that behaviour. 

Every childcare centre will have its own interpretation of etiquette, but having your own professional code of conduct will go a long way in exceeding their expectations. Working in different settings casually can help you see the similarities and differences with each centre’s concepts and can in turn assist you in becoming a great educator with excellent etiquette. To learn more about how to find casual childcare jobs across a great range of centres, apply to Z Staffing and create your profile today.

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About Z Staffing

When running or managing a childcare centre, you must ensure you have the correct amount of childcare educators to children to remain in ratio. With industry-wide worker shortages, planned holidays by permanent workers, and sudden staffing issues due to sick leave, it can be a challenge to ensure you have enough staff available.

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