Launching Yourself into Early childhood Education

Launching yourself into your career
Jan Deans
Looking for a job in early childhood?
Build your CV and your
Professional Practice Portfolio
Prepare for an Interview
Download the Position Description
Which might read something like this
Position Summary
The Kindergarten Teacher is responsible to the Director for the planning, implementation and evaluation of
an exemplary education and care program for 3-5 year old children attending The University of
Melbourne’s Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Early Learning Centre (ELC). The incumbent is
required to work independently or in a team teaching situation with an allocated group of children and is
responsible for supervising other staff and students who work specifically with the same group of children.
The incumbent is also required to communicate sensitively and effectively with children, parents and other
staff regarding programming and the developmental progress of individual children. The Kindergarten
Teacher is required, in the absence of the Director, to assume additional operational duties.
Selection Criteria
• An appropriate Early Childhood qualification as prescribed in Schedule 1 of Children's Services
Regulations 2009.
• Demonstrated knowledge of contemporary early childhood theory and practice, including knowledge of
arts education, environmental education and language and mathematics curricula.
• A thorough knowledge and understanding of the requirements of the Early Years Learning Framework
and the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework.
• Proven ability to design, implement and evaluate programs for groups of up to 20 full time children or
40 part time children.
• Knowledge and understanding of the relevant quality assurance requirements as they relate to early
childhood service delivery.
• Supervision and assessment experience of early childhood undergraduate and post graduate students.
• Staff supervision and management experience.
• Current ‘Working with Children’ Check.
• Experience working in a long-day preschool setting.
• Current First Aid, Anaphylaxis and Asthma Training.
• Research experience.
• An interest in publication of practice/research.
• Enrolment in post graduate study.
Special Requirements and Conditions
• Signed consent to be a staff member in a research and demonstration preschool.
• 8.15 am team meeting Monday to Friday
• 8.30-4.30 teaching day, Monday to Friday
• Once weekly meeting 4.30-5.30pm
• 1 child free planning day per week
• Planning days are forfeited when they coincide with Public/University Holidays, childfree and curriculum
days and while the incumbent’s ‘team teacher’ is on kindergarten teacher’s leave.
• Leave package comprises 4 weeks annual leave, 6 weeks kindergarten teachers leave [pro rata] and
University and Public Holidays
Key Responsibilities
• To be responsible for the health, safety and overall well-being of each child, enrolled child within the
allocated group.
• To work effectively and sensitively with children and families.
• To be responsible for the design, implementation and evaluation of an exemplary education and care
program which responds to the developmental and learning needs of 3-5 year old children attending the
• To work as a co-operative member of a team by contributing / attending staff and parent meetings and
information sessions, organising and overseeing parent Working Bees and supporting ELC fundraising.
• To actively participate and contribute to ELC initiatives.
• To support the promotion of the ELC in relation to its research, demonstration and professional
development activity.
• To advise and inform the Director of relevant matters pertaining to program development, the needs of
individual children and any issues that may impact on the operation of the ELC.
• In the absence of the Director and/or the Administration Manager and/or Senior Teacher/s, to be
available to take responsibility for the on-sight management of the ELC.
specific responsibilities
Children and Programs
• To design, implement and evaluate a program that reflects the philosophy of the ELC and contemporary
trends in early childhood theory and practice and responds to the developmental needs and interests of
three to five year old children.
• To ensure that the needs of individual children are met through the development of 'Individual Learning
Programs' (3 times per year) and to ensure ongoing evaluation of children’s development through
systematic record keeping and assessment, including half-yearly parent teacher interviews and the
completion of written end of year Transition Reports and the preparation of portfolios.
• To develop programs that meet the needs of the community and reflect an understanding of anti-bias
attitudes with attention paid to issues of gender, culture and equity.
• To provide an organised, welcoming and sensory rich learning environment with attention paid to both
individual room presentation and the requirements of the ELC as a whole.
• To maintain the necessary records pertaining to children, programs and planning and to ensure hygiene
and safety standards are enforced for all children.
• To work as a member of a cooperative team; ensuring that the ELC has a unified direction in regard to
the philosophy of education and care and parent and community involvement; in the implementation
of program planning, parent contact, sharing of household duties; and supporting administrative tasks
as required.
• To regularly evaluate personal practices/interactions with team members to ensure that interactions
with others are respectful and equitable.
• To work closely with ELC Specialist Teachers to ensure that the program stimulates each child’s
involvement in artistic pursuit.
• To provide written and or verbal reports as required.
• To ensure within the ELC confidentiality, mutual respect, social equality, trust, cooperation and shared
• To provide regular written and verbal feedback to parents through the ‘Daily Diary” and systematic
documentation via notice board displays.
• To take responsibility for the orientation of new families and children to the ELC and to seek parental
involvement as appropriate
• To be thoroughly conversant with and to adhere to the Children’s Services Regulations 2009, relevant
accreditation systems, Government funding documents and requirements of Government departments
as they relate to early childhood service delivery and with all University of Melbourne Policies and
Procedures including requirements associated with annual performance review.
• To demonstrate workplace flexibility by accepting roster changes as required which may include other
administration tasks associated with the smooth running of the ELC.
• To actively contribute to the development of ELC based publications, to undertake professional development
activities annually and to support ELC development initiatives as required.
• To follow housekeeping practices, which ensure that equipment is maintained at an optimum level and that
the ELC indoor and outdoor environments are kept safe, and presented in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
• To report necessary maintenance and supply needs to ELC Administration,
• To report personal absences to ELC Administration by 7.30 am on the day of absence or earlier, completing
all relevant University of Melbourne processes in relation Sick Leave, Annual Leave, Performance
• To present a professional image through exemplary personal conduct and fastidious dress code.
• To adhere to Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) and Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)
responsibilities as outlined in section
Job Complexity, Skills, Knowledge
The incumbent must make decisions and effectively communicate those decisions associated with the
planning, implementation and evaluation of the education and care programs, the supervision and
training of students, the safety and maintenance of equipment and the overall operation of the ELC.
Problem Solving and Judgement
The incumbent is required to independently problem solve various daily situations including those
concerning child illness or emergency procedures, staff, student or parent conflicts.
The position requires clear thinking and the capacity for the selection and implementation of
appropriate early childhood practices, resource management and consultation with other
professionals as required.
Professional and Organisational Knowledge
• A thorough knowledge of the theory and practice and early childhood education
• A thorough knowledge of the University of Melbourne Policies and Procedures
• A thorough knowledge of Australian curricula documents as they relate to early childhood education
• A thorough knowledge of all relevant State and Federal Government Regulations as they relate to early childhood
Resource Management
• To manage physical resources to ensure compliance with OH&S and EH&S requirements
• To ensure the orderly classification and storage of all equipment
Breadth of the position
The position covers a range of functions that encompass areas directly related to the planning, implementation and
evaluation of an exemplary education and care program for children aged 3-5 years. It requires an ability on behalf
of the incumbent to work effectively with children, parents, team members, University of Melbourne academics
and research staff, and other professionals and as a member of a united and enthusiastic team. The position also
requires an understanding of the academic needs of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education in relation to
research and the training and supervision of Master of Teaching Teacher Candidates.
Become familiar with the Centre or
Do your homework about your potential
Think about your presentation at
Have some prepared answers & your
Professional Practice Portfolio with you to
help answer questions like these
Interview Questions and Key Selection Criteria
Personal Profile
• What motivates you to work with young children?
• What personal learning interest do you have?
• Do these interests relate to your teaching?
• What would you consider to be your professional strengths?
• What would you consider to be your professional challenges?
• What do you hope to be doing professionally in 5 years time?
• Describe the form of relationship you wish to develop with the children.
• What type of program do you develop to help to encourage respectful behaviour between children and
• Have you ever worked with a child with additional learning needs?
• If so, describe how your worked with that child.
• How do you see the role of the family in the pre-school setting?
• If a parent was to say; “I don’t like the way that child is treating my child!”, how would you respond?
• What do you think are the biggest challenges to effective communication and good teamwork?
• If you discovered indirectly that another staff member was expressing concerns about your program what
would you do?
Interview Questions and Key Selection Criteria
• What are some of the major issues currently influencing early childhood education curriculum?
• Could you describe a balance between structured and unstructured play? Describe this.
• What experience have you had in developing literacy & mathematics with young children?
• What links would you develop between your outdoor and outdoor program?
• What do you consider the role of the arts in children’s learning and development?
• Give an example of an arts experience you would engage children with.
• What importance do you give to excursions?
• What importance do you give to the presentation the ‘learning environment”?
• How do you feel about being observed and recorded by other teachers and researchers?
• Are you prepared to present your ideas to others? E.g. teachers, parents and others.
• What do you believe is a reasonable after hours commitment to work?
• Beside the responsibilities of your own group in what ways would you contributed to the total needs
of the Centre?
• With support, what special educational interests would you be eager to develop in this setting?
Some suggested Questions for ELC Administrative Officer – Essential Criteria
Note all questions should be framed to give candidate opportunity to address the selection criteria
for the position.
A relevant degree or an equivalent combination of relevant experience and/or education/training.
Why have you applied for the position?
What experience/skills do you have which would assist you in this role?
What experience or skills do you have which would demonstrate that this type of role would suit you?
Explore what experience they have in supporting people with various needs.
High level interpersonal and communication skills, in dealing with a wide range of people both within and outside
the University. An ability to demonstrate tact, discretion and a professional and helpful manner at all times to
colleagues, customers and clients.
Capacity to efficiently manage ‘front of house’ reception/queries/visitors/goods receivable.
Can you describe your skills in dealing with people and describe a difficult or demanding situation and how you
dealt with it?
What kinds of people are you comfortable in dealing with?
What kinds of people do you find difficult to deal with and why? How do you handle them?
Give me an example of a situation when you have to deal with a particularly demanding or difficult person. How
did you manage it and what was the outcome.
Excellent organisational skills with a demonstrated competency in managing workload across a range of tasks and
projects, together with an ability to set and achieve priorities and deadlines and to follow tasks through to
Demonstrated time management and organisational skills.
How do you currently organize your workload to ensure work is done accurately and within tight deadlines?
How do you keep track where follow up is required?
How do you set priorities in terms of short and long term projects?
Describe the systems you use to keep track of your work. How do you ensure progress to meet deadlines or
Excellent computer and keyboard skills, especially in word processing and presentation, including a sound knowledge of
software packages such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint and Electronic Mail.
• Can you outline your experience and level of competence in using computer applications and systems generally?
• Can you give me examples of how you used them to increase efficiency or effectiveness in your work area.
• What level of experience have you had with web maintenance?
Capacity to manage ELC accounts and casual payroll in a timely and efficient manner.
• Can you outline your experience in handling financial transactions and payroll.
Ability to work independently, as well as an ability to work within and contribute to a team environment.
• What projects have you worked on in a small team that demonstrated your synergy with the team as well as the flexibility to
work with self-direction?
• This role is quite varied and rules or processes not always clear.
Ability to use initiative and judgement to deliver the required level of service support.
• The role is quite varied from dealing with routine matters like ensuring the photocopier is working to supporting someone
organise an important event or be involved in finance/budget work. How would you manage in this environment?
• To some degree you shape and control how you work, with scope for initiative. Can you demonstrate how well you would work
in this environment?
• Can you give an example where you had to manage an issue where you didn’t understand the process?
• Can you provide us with an example of a system or procedure you have set up which has led to improvements in your area of
work? What prompted the idea and how do you know it was effective?
A flexible approach is essential to cope with a busy environment and changing priorities.
• How would you cope with changes to your role and/or environment?
Excellent written, oral and numeric skills and strong attention to detail.
• Most of this will come out in other questions.
• What examples can you offer of instances where you have drafted correspondence, or reports? How hard were they to write
and why?
What happens when you are offered a job?
Letter of offer & formal acceptance
You are launched!