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3 Ways an Early Childhood Assistant Can Prevent Bullying

2015-11-25 by Mark Harrington

Early childcare training

Teachers in early childhood settings, such as daycares, preschools, kindergarten classes and more often overlook bullying for a few reasons. They may think that young children are too innocent to deliberately harm on another, or they may dismiss bullying behavior, chalking it up to “kids just being kids.”

Children as young as 3 years old are capable of participating in bullying, and early childhood educators and assistants who are prepared to address bullying can effectively create safe and harmonious learning environments.

During early childhood assistant training, you’ll learn that understanding bullying behaviors is the first step towards preventing them. There are three main types of bullying, these include:

  1. Physical bullying (hitting, pushing, etc.)
  2. Verbal bullying (name-calling)
  3. Relational bullying (excluding others)

By spotting and recognizing these behaviors once you become an early childhood assistant, you’ll have the chance to nip them in the bud. Here’s a few ways that early childhood assistants can prevent bullying in a childcare setting.

A Trained Early Childhood Assistant Discusses Bullying with Children

When children understand what bullying is and its different forms, they will have a better chance of recognizing bullying when they see it or when they become involved in it. By speaking openly and directly with children about bullying, it will let them know that the adults in the classroom or daycare take it seriously, and that it won’t be tolerated.

Talking about bullying can also create an open dialogue between you and the children. This will make them feel comfortable to approach you if they are being bullied. As an early childhood assistant, you will be able to speak to children one-on-one about bullying, and you could also help design activities that will educate them or encourage them to share stories on the topic.

Early childhood assistant

Getting kids talking about bullying can help them make better decisions.

A Good Early Childhood Assistant Gets Parents Involved

At home, parents can keep the conversation about bullying going as children learn to understand, talk about, and respond to bullying during preschool or daycare. They may need help from educators to know what bullying behaviors look like in early childhood, and why it’s important to intervene. There are a few ways to seek parents’ cooperation and support in order to prevent bullying.

During your early childcare training, you will learn all about program planning. These skills will help you create and host parent workshop sessions, where you can discuss bullying prevention initiatives. If there are children in your group that are being bullied or showing bullying behaviors, you can speak with their parents alone and let them know. In addition, you might also ask parents to partake in coming up with ways to put an end to bullying, both in the classroom and at home.

Early childhood assistant college

Parents play a major role in the prevention of bullying.

Pros with Early Childcare Training Help Children Develop Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and respond in caring ways to how others feel, and is one of the most powerful social skills young children can develop to prevent bullying. Children will be much less likely to hurt someone if they’re able to imagine themselves in that person’s place.

As an early childhood assistant, you’ll have a hand in designing activities that help children learn to talk about and label their feelings, and find ways to help other people feel better. You can also promote acts of kindness in the childcare environment you end up working in, because one of the best ways to stop bullying is to teach children to behave in ways that are its complete opposite.

Early childcare training

With empathy, kids will want to hug much more than they want to hurt each other.


Looking for an early childhood assistant college that combines theoretical learning with hands-on training?

 Visit NAHB for program information or to speak with an experienced advisor.


An Early Childcare Assistant’s Guide to the Educational Benefits of Dramatic Play

2015-09-09 by Mark Harrington

childcare training

Playtime is serious business for young learners! By acting out different dramatic roles, children can explore the boundaries of their own identities and put a variety of new skills into practice.

With the guidance of trained professionals in a safe environment, children can experience productive playtimes and develop ideas about the world around them. They gain social skills, physical dexterity, personal insight, and more—building foundational skills they’ll use for years to come.

If you are planning to enroll in early childcare assistant courses, or you have already started your program, read on to learn about the benefits of dramatic play in early childhood education.

Dramatic Play is an Early Childhood Cognitive Workout

Underneath those fireman hats and fluffy wigs, children’s minds are working extra hard—dressing up and acting out scenes pushes a child toward higher levels of thinking.

For example, children playing “house” must recall what they’ve seen their parents do at home in order to act it out. In addition, they must communicate effectively with each other, negotiate ideas, and participate in active storytelling, all while incorporating imaginative abstract thinking.

“When kids substitute a wooden block for a phone, they are thinking symbolically,” says Dr. Ann Barbour, leading American professor of early childhood education. “That’s a precursor to all later academic experiences, like reading, writing and math.”

Dramatic play also introduces children to the concept of identity. How does a pirate act? What does a teacher do? Who can be a superhero? Dressing-up helps children arrive at first-hand conclusions about different ways they can express themselves.

Early Childcare Professionals Teach Social Skills Through Dramatic Play

Experts with an early childcare assistant diploma have the skills to create safe, developmentally-appropriate spaces where children can take risks and practice fundamental social skills.

Through play, children explore big issues like fairness and right and wrong. They learn to balance their desire for power and control with their need for fun and caring friendships. With a professional’s support, they take turns, agree on topics, problem-solve, and work as a team.

Dress-up play encourages an interest in peers and society. By literally walking in other people’s shoes, kids can learn about what life is like for various members of their communities. In fact, studies link role-play to empathy, suggesting that children who role-play are more skilled in judging how other people might feel than those who don’t role-play.

Dramatic Play Gives Children Physical Benefits

Childcare training teaches the value of offering diverse activities for active bodies and minds.

Dramatic play ticks all the physical development boxes: from gross motor skills that come from running, dancing, or pretending to fly, to fine muscle coordination from grasping, zipping, or buttoning.

These take lots of practice for preschoolers and help prepare them for life skills like getting dressed and using small utensils to eat and write. Making time for their coordination development will promote their physical health and allow them to burn off some of the day’s excess energy.

The Early Childhood Assistant’s Role in Dramatic Play

If you choose to become an early childcare assistant, children will depend on you to provide them with the time, space, and support they’ll need for enriching dramatic play. You will help ensure the classroom is kept safe and clean, and assist educators in providing the skills and emotional strength children need to take chances and cope with complex learning situations.

Early childcare professionals are the anchor of each imaginary pirate ship, and the key ingredient in every playtime kitchen. With the right training, you can take on the job of helping children reach their full potential.

Are you interested in becoming an early childhood assistant? Visit the NAHB for more information or to speak with an advisor.

Essential Communication Skills for Early Childhood Assistants

2015-04-15 by Mark Harrington

Every early childhood assistant knows that having effective communication skills is an essential part of the job. This is mainly because they are required to communicate with children, parents and colleagues on a daily basis. Of course it should come as no surprise that the skills required to communicate with a child are very different than those required to communicate with an adult. Additionally, an early childhood assistant would not speak to a student’s parents in the same manner that they would speak to a colleague or peer. Here’s a quick guide to the communication skill-set that every early childhood assistant should have:

When Communicating with Children

Individuals holding early childcare assistant diplomas understand the importance of using positive reinforcement when communicating with their students. This means that when a child does something good, like follows the rules or lends a helping hand to his or her peers, a childcare assistant should provide specific praise. For example, by saying “it was very nice of you to help Marco clean up his toys, Timmy” instead of “that was nice of you, Timmy,” Timmy will understand exactly what it is that he is being praised for and will likely continue to help others.

Experts know that when communicating with young children, it is always best to advise them on what they should be doing, rather than what they should not be doing. This is again because children respond well to positive encouragement. For instance, if a child is running when he or she should be walking, a skilled childcare assistant might tell him or her to walk instead of saying not to run.

When Communicating with Colleagues

Since a certain level of communication is required within any professional environment, having the ability to effectively communicate with colleagues and peers is important when pursuing a career in virtually any field. Any and all communication between colleagues should be kept professional at all times. Experts know that providing negative feedback can be difficult, however, if this feedback is sandwiched between a few positive observations it might be a lot easier to swallow.

Individuals pursuing childcare training should also consider the fact that, for the most part, they will always be surrounded by children during work hours. This means that a child might be watching and listening to a conversation that is being had between two colleagues. And, since young children are very impressionable, it’s important that all conversations are kept respectful.

When Communicating with Parents

Any communication between a childhood assistant and a student’s parents should always come from a place of mutual respect. Early childcare assistants know that it’s important to communicate regularly with their student’s families. This will enable families to keep track of their child’s educational progress and it will also allow the educators and assistants to have access to information about how that child is doing at home. When communicating with a student’s parents, it is important to speak in a casual manner and use simple language. This will ensure that there are no miscommunications or misunderstandings.

Do you have any other tips for effectively communicating with children and their families as an early childcare assistant?



An Early Childcare Assistant’s Guide to Effective Parent Communication

2015-01-28 by Mark Harrington

early childcare assistant communicate with parents

Students pursuing careers as early childcare assistants (ECAs) know that they will one day be responsible for supervising and providing care to young children enrolled in preschools, daycares or kindergartens. They will be required to prepare daily activities which will help promote cognitive and physical development in children, which also involves monitoring and recording any progress made. Every professional early childhood assistant understands the importance of building meaningful relationships not only with the children they are supervising, but with their families as well. Continue reading for strategies on effectively communicating with parents as an ECA.

The Importance of Good Parent Communication

When early childcare assistants communicate with a child’s family, both parties should be able to collaborate and assess the child’s strengths and weaknesses while working together to come up with ways to better support him or her. And of course, anyone with an early childcare assistant diploma knows that a good parent-caregiver bond builds the foundation for a healthy education environment. When the parent makes a positive association with educators and the learning environment, this is inevitably reflected in the child’s attitude and level of success.

Two-way Discussions

ECAs recognize that the best and most effective way to communicate with a child’s parents is by having a two-way conversation. This can be accomplished either by means of a phone call or by meeting face-to-face. Meeting in person is preferred because it allows the ECA to listen to the parents directly and personally address any questions or concerns they might have.

Progress Reports

In cases where two-way communication is not ideal, one-way communication can be just as effective. Early childcare assistants will often use progress reports to communicate the events of a child’s day to the parents. Progress reports can be given to parents when they drop off their child in the mornings or pick them up in the evenings. A progress report is a method of quickly outlining both the negative and positive parts of a child’s day in order to keep their parents informed. These can either be formal or informal, depending on the ECA’s relationship with the parents. These progress reports are usually very short and to the point – sometimes just a sentence or two is enough.

Monthly Newsletters

Another tactic that professionals with early childcare assistant training might use to communicate a child’s progress to his or her parents is by writing a monthly newsletter. It should not come as a surprise that this letter would be much lengthier than a progress report, as it would outline an entire month of a child’s progress. Some ECAs might even attach some of the work (drawings, paintings, etc.) that a child has created within that time. ECAs can also include lists of ways in which a parent might be able to extend a child’s learning at home, or perhaps even inform parents on volunteer opportunities that may be available at the daycare or preschool.

Can you think of any other effective strategies that a childcare assistant might use to communicate effectively with parents?

A Day in the Life of a Customs Officer

2014-10-29 by Mark Harrington

Early childhood assistantIt’s rare to meet a traveller who has never been stopped and questioned by a customs official. Although customs screenings may be the cause of one or two hold-ups in our past, they are critical to our country’s security. Customs officers work to protect Canadians by ensuring visitors abide by the laws of the country, and do not attempt to bring restricted items into Canada. No risky item, no matter how small, escapes the scrutiny of a customs professional. Foods such as meat are constantly monitored and often barred from import into Canada because of the potential diseases it carries. Pests are also a big concern. High-risk plants – even a Christmas tree – will be confiscated at Canadian customs if they come from regions associated with high-risk insects.

Customs must also function as a preventative barrier against crimes like the illegal smuggling of drugs and alcohol, and firearms trafficking. Law enforcement colleges train customs officers how to make the correct judgements and take effective precautions when screening visitors entering our country. To get an idea of the scope and importance of this career, take a look at some of the daily duties of a customs officer in Canada.

Performing a Detailed Luggage Search

One of the basic duties of a customs officer is to search the luggage of travellers entering the country. Travellers may be coming in via airports, land borders or sea ports. A main reason for checking luggage is to ensure that no products banned in the country are allowed to breach our borders. An additional reason is to ensure that people are paying the appropriate taxes for items that exceed personal allowance guidelines. Many travellers are stopped and fined because they have neglected to declare certain possessions, including cash, on the forms provided for that very purpose. A graduate of dental school or practicing doctor is probably aware of pharmaceutical restrictions at customs – and it is common for travellers to have their medications confiscated for not carrying them in their original containers (or declaring them in full). An early childhood assistant should also be wary of certain items like baby walkers which are actually banned in Canada, although for the most part legal in the rest of the world.

Customs officers may also search ships, aircraft or vehicles to examine goods being taken into the country, and to check for smuggling. Smuggling in this case can include not only goods, but illegal immigrants.

Question Travellers

Not only must customs officers screen for banned or smuggled items, they also must check travellers’ documents and passports to ensure no inadmissible person is being granted entry into the country. A customs officer may question a traveller on their immigration clearance, or whether they have any currency or cheques in their possession. For travellers who have been detained at customs, it is the job of the customs officer to question them. This could include asking about any illegal items they have tried to bring into the country, previous arrests, or any false claims they have made on their documents.

Making Arrests and Charges

In some cases, travellers coming through customs may already be wanted on outstanding charges in the country they are trying to enter. It is the job of a customs officer to identify these suspects and turn them over to the police. While awaiting additional law enforcement back-up, the customs officer is responsible for the arrest and detainment of anyone deemed to be high-risk to Canada’s security, or proven guilty of a recognized offence.

An Early Childhood Assistant’s Day at a Nursery School

2014-10-08 by Mark Harrington

Personal support worker training

From birth, children are in need of the special care and attention that will eventually shape their development and growth. Children placed in early childcare institutions such as nursery schools or preschools are usually under the supervision of an early childhood assistant (ECA). When given the responsibility of several children, basic healthcare training is definitely helpful to ensure that the basic psychological, physical and educational needs of children are met. Take a look at what an early childhood assistant can expect in a day at a nursery school.

Morning Rush

Even before the masses of small children pour into the nursery school, an ECA is preparing for the daily activities that will support and promote their cognitive and physical development. The ECA is responsible for creating a safe and clean environment for the children and maintaining all of the equipment and surroundings before they arrive, during their stay, and after their departure. Once the children have arrived, the ECA will carry out and monitor various programs and activities including:

  • Reading stories
  • Introducing simple musical instruments
  • Teaching arts and crafts
  • Teaching physical fitness

While the ECA is guiding the children through these activities, he/she is also responsible for observing them and assessing their basic abilities, interests and requirements. A preschool teacher’s assistant gets to plan fun activities for the children, creatively interacting with them by organizing art projects and storytelling, teaching them about colours, shapes and numbers. They may also prepare snacks and help the children get dressed, providing one-on-one attention for preschoolers of diverse backgrounds.


An ECA has an extensive list of responsibilities to keep in mind throughout his/her day at a nursery school. Some of these duties include:

  • Monitoring activities designed for children
  • Snack and meal preparation
  • Arranging and rearranging furniture to accommodate naptime and lunchtime
  • Helping the supervisor keep records of the children
  • Cleaning and maintaining equipment
  • Assisting children with the development of functions such as eating, dressing and toilet training
  • Observing the children for signs of learning disabilities or emotional issues
  • Discussing any progress or problems with parents

Although the day can sometimes be overwhelming as an ECA, it can also truly be rewarding because you are aiding in the development of young children and in turn helping shape their future.

Required skills

As an ECA, there are several key requirements and skills that you must have in order to successfully work with children in the early stages of their lives. Earning an early childhood assistant diploma is the first step to this rewarding career, helping you to develop  these types of skills that will come in handy on the job:

  • Patience
  • Enthusiasm
  • Creativity
  • Classroom management skills
  • Dedication

These qualities combined with a genuine interest in early childhood education, fortified by the appropriate educational background and experience, will start you on your way to becoming a great early childhood assistant.

Typical Duties of a Physiotherapist Assistant

2014-08-27 by Mark Harrington

Instructor And Elderly Patient Undergoing Water Therapy

A physiotherapist assistant will always work under the supervision of a certified physiotherapist to aid them in their duties. To become a physiotherapist assistant, first you will need certification from a physiotherapist assistant program where you will learn about anatomy and physiology, healthcare delivery, rehabilitation strategies and much more. In this field, it is crucial that you have a passion for exercise and activity, as well as an overall positive attitude. Physiotherapy is a gradual process and patients may often get frustrated when they cannot complete an exercise. Because of the rehabilitation nature of the job, patience is a crucial attribute to those who choose this profession.

Types of Patients

As a physiotherapist, there are a variety of possible locations for your employment. Your job may have you performing house calls, or you may work in a physiotherapy clinic or hospital.

The people you work with vary as well. Many patients are elderly and need help regaining their strength and mobility, in which case you may work alongside someone who has graduated from a personal support worker course. Those who have suffered a stroke benefit tremendously from physiotherapy, as it helps regain control over muscles that have been paralyzed or disabled.

The great thing about being a physiotherapist assistant is that you find yourself working with people from all walks of life. Children may also need physiotherapy, due to developmental delays or sports injuries. In the case of a younger patient, you may find yourself working hand in hand with an early childhood assistant to aid in the child’s recovery.

Rehabilitation of broken leg

Typical Daily Duties

If you are curious about what a day as a physiotherapist assistant is like, here are some typical duties performed on the job.

  • Assist patient in performing the exercises which have been arranged by a physiotherapist
  • Motivate patients to perform their exercises
  • Help patients move from a sitting to a standing position
  • Help patients walk with a cane or walker
  • Perform massages
  • Record the muscle and strength performance of the patient
  • Inform the patients of their at-home treatment
  • Use ultrasound machines to treat injuries
  • Help patients use artificial limbs

Positive Motivation

A physiotherapist must have a passion for activity and a motivational personality – after all, the main part of your job is to encourage patients to make their recovery as swift as possible. Some patients’ situations will require time, especially in the cases of a stroke where a patient may start off immobile. A physiotherapist assistant has the duty of encouraging the patient to take small steps at a time, and radiate a positive energy which will aid in their recovery.

Becoming a Security Guard in Canada

2014-08-13 by Mark Harrington

accounting courses

In today’s world, protecting your assets is extremely important, which is why the market for security guards in Canada is currently very healthy, with a lot of demand for professionals with security guard training.  A career as a security guard can be both interesting and rewarding, as you won’t ever experience the same day twice and will be tasked with important responsibilities. If you have a strong sense of duty, love helping and protecting others and have a good eye for details, a career as a security guard could be a perfect fit for you.

So how do you become a security guard in Canada? Do you need a license? Can you get your training through an employer? While some details will change from province to province, here are the main steps.

Being eligible for the position

First and foremost, you won’t be able to find work as a security guard in Canada if you’re not legally eligible to work in the country, at least 18 years old (or 19 in some provinces) and don’t possess a clean criminal record. Depending on the province in which you live, make sure you meet these three criteria. You will definitely have to undergo a criminal background check, but don’t be alarmed. This is simply a normal procedure to ensure no bad surprises.

Passing your exam

To be employed as a security guard in Canada, you’ll need to acquire a professional license. This is done through your provincial ministry. Though each province has its own rules and regulations, a lot of them are similar. To complete your security guard exam, you’ll need to take a 40 hour course on how to be a security guard, which will be followed by an exam made of various multiple choice questions. Lastly, you should know that passing the exam doesn’t necessarily guarantee you employment, though it’s definitely a step in the right direction!

Applying for your license

Almost there! After completing the exam, you’ll need to apply for your security guard license. This is done through your provincial government. There will be paperwork for you to fill out, though nothing too complicated. In other words, you won’t need accounting courses to fill out these few forms! There will also be an entry fee (25$ to 60$, depending on where you live), which you need to pay every year to renew your license. Once you receive your license in the mail, you’ll be ready to find work and start making money protecting a business, its clients and assets.

As a security guard in Canada, there a number of business, organizations and even individuals that can hire you. You might end up working in banks, bars, schools, casinos, small businesses and more. You’ll get to meet people from all walks of life, from early childhood assistant to professionals with medical office assistant training. Lastly, you’ll feel great knowing that your efforts are making a difference.

Integrating Technology in Early Childhood Education

2014-08-06 by Mark Harrington

Integrating Technology in Early Childhood Education

Over the past several years, there has been a growing focus on integrating technology into classroom teaching. Curricula is designed around digital trends, and teachers are trained to be comfortable with a range of tools, and keep up with emerging techniques. A big part of the reason behind this push for technology, is its prominent place in students’ lives. Educators understand that to teach effectively, they must connect strategically with kids – using some of their interests as the basis for lesson plans and teaching techniques.

Now we see educators using technology-based teaching in kindergartens, pre-schools, and daycares. It’s an essential part of teaching and learning – but how should the early childhood assistant integrate technology into classes full of our youngest students?

Here are a few guiding principles and practical examples to get started with:

Technology Doesn’t Replace Good Teaching

It would be misguided to abandon the time honoured principles of early childhood development – like building social skills through simple play – in favour of having children sit passively in front of screens, or engage solely with digital devices, rather than each other.

Educators should strive to integrate technological tools where they complement and enhance an existing, carefully conceived lesson plan. These tools aren’t a substitute for thinking through learning goals, and making sure students understand key concepts. Nor does randomly adding a digital device to your classroom add up to effective technological integration – the tool must be built into your plan, have a clear purpose, and be accessible to all students.

Start Small

One teacher decided to use technology to build on a lesson plan where toddlers construct a copy of their own house using play blocks of different shapes. To enhance the lesson, the educator used Google Earth to bring up images of her students’ houses as references for their models. Students had fun manipulating the tool, and it actually helped them complete the task more effectively. A good early childhood college will ask teachers to reflect on how their tool of choice helps students learn better, and suggest small ways for adding technology to existing approaches.

Encourage Collaboration

Some of our most impressive tech tools are those that facilitate collaboration and sharing. Rather than engaging one-on-one with a device or program, whole classrooms can create projects online using a range of software. One teacher uses computers to create digital stories with his students. Each child contributes ideas and adds images to the text, or takes turns attaching audio files as narrators.  The final product belongs to everyone – and can be shared online with parents and administrators. This approach takes the early childhood training principle of fair play and effective teamwork to the next level, demonstrating to toddlers that by collaborating well they can create something lasting and quite impressive!

What’s the best idea you’ve heard for integrating technology into the early childhood classroom?

Business Employment Search Strategies

2014-07-30 by Mark Harrington

Employment Search

For many business students, the last few weeks of school leading up to graduation can be bittersweet. On the one hand, you’ve almost made it! You’re entering the job market newly certified, ready to tackle whatever your industry throws at you. On the other hand, you don’t know exactly where you’re going to land, job-wise. Not having employment lined up after your final semester can be truly terrifying. But you’re not alone. Unless they’ve scored a position from an internship or practicum post, all grads find themselves pounding the pavement soon after their last exam. Still, there are a few strategies you can put into practice either during your program’s final weeks, or just after graduation – steps that will help you maximize your chances of getting that first foot in the door:

Use Your College Resources

Make use of NAHB’s career advising and support services. These are a great starting place for your job search because they’re run by experienced professionals – people who can help you prepare an impactful resume, practice interviewing, and learn to use employment databases. Whether you’re pursuing dental assistant training or finishing up accounting courses, the career advisors will know the best places for you to begin your job search.

And don’t forget about joining your college alumni network. These are important contacts who can help you by sharing their own experiences and offering support, and perhaps even connecting you with a job opening they’ve heard about in your field. And that leads us to our next strategy…

Build Your Network

Most jobs go to someone who knows someone. Connections and contacts are an increasingly important aspect of job searching. Talk to other people in your field. Create a LinkedIn profile, expand your social networks, get the word out there that you’re newly qualified and ready for a challenge. If your school hosts alumni events or job fairs, attend every one of them and talk about your enthusiasm for your field.

Even better, reach out to two or three professionals in your industry – or alumni – and ask to set up a 30 minute coffee chat or phone call. Ask them about their experiences, how they got started, and any other advice they can offer. Do not ask them for a job – just to share their expert insights. And then, ask them to introduce you to two or three more relevant contacts on Linked In.  This is how you grow a professional network, and increase your chances of landing a position.

Stick To A Schedule

Looking for a job is a job in itself. So, create a daily schedule for yourself and stick to it. Set aside working hours each day to search for jobs, perfect your resume, and grow your network. You may also consider volunteering to fill in some of those extra hours. For example, if you’ve just completed early childhood assistant training but haven’t found a position yet, look for volunteering opportunities through local community centers. This way, you’ll be adding to your resume and your experience, which will help you stand out come interview time.

What’s your most effective job search strategy?


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