Early years teaching assistant

An early years teaching assistant

Description

Early years teaching assistants support the early years teacher in an early years or nursery school. They assist in class instruction, in classroom supervision in absence of the head teacher, and in organising, developing and putting into practice of the daily schedule. Early years teaching assistants monitor and help students in group as well as individually, and tend to focus on the students in need of extra care and attention the early years teacher cannot provide.

Early years teaching assistants typically do the following:

  • make sure that the pupils you support can engage in learning and stay on task during the lesson or activity so that they can become independent learners
  • support the social and emotional development of pupils, reporting any issues when required
  • support the teacher in managing challenging pupil behaviour and promoting positive behaviour
  • listen to pupils read and read to pupils as a class, group or one-to-one
  • monitor and record pupils’ progress and provide detailed and regular feedback to teachers
  • carry out administrative duties, such as preparing the classroom and clearing away after class to ensure effective teaching can take place
  • look after pupils who have had accidents, administering first aid where necessary, and those who need help dressing or are upset
  • make resources for use by teachers and pupils and create art displays of pupils’ artwork
  • provide support outside of your normal classes, such as helping during exams, covering TA absences or going on school trips
  • help with extra-curricular activity such as breakfast and after-school clubs, homework club, revision sessions or playtime and lunchtime duties.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to early years teaching assistant:

assistant in early years education
nursery teaching aide
kindergarten teaching assistant
preschool teaching aide
early childhood teaching aide
early years TA
assistant in early years teaching
reception teaching assistant
nursery teaching assistant
preschool teaching assistant
early years education assistant
early childhood teaching assistant

Working conditions

Teacher assistants may spend some time outside, when students are at recess or getting on and off the bus. They may need to lift the students at certain times.

Injuries and Illnesses

Teacher assistants sometimes get injured on the job. They actively work with students, including lifting and otherwise assisting special education students, which can place them at risk for injuries such as strains.

Work Schedules

Most teacher assistants work full time, although part-time work is common. Some monitor students on school buses before and after school. Many teacher assistants do not work during the summer; however, some work in year-round schools or assist teachers in summer school.

Minimum qualifications

Teacher assistants in public schools generally need at least 2 years of college coursework or an associate’s degree. Some teacher assistants have a bachelor’s degree in fields such as education and psychology.

Some jobs may require staff to have certifications in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid.

Teacher assistants who help students with special needs usually require specialized training and experience.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Early years teaching assistant is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Early years teaching assistant career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to early years teaching assistant.

primary school teaching assistant
special educational needs assistant
secondary school teaching assistant
child care worker
babysitter

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of early years teaching assistant. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of early years teaching assistant with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

first aid instructor
legal guardian
sports coach
outdoor activities instructor
vessel steering instructor

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of early years teaching assistant.

  • Workplace sanitation: The importance of a clean, sanitary workspace for example through use of hand disinfectant and sanitizer, in order to minimise infection risk between colleagues or when working with children.
  • Children’s physical development: Recognise and describe the development, observing the following criteria: weight, length, and head size, nutritional requirements, renal function, hormonal influences on development, response to stress, and infection.
  • Kindergarten school procedures: The inner workings of a kindergarten, such as the structure of the relevant education support and management, policies, and regulations.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of early years teaching assistant.

  • Manage children’s problems: Promote the prevention, early detection, and management of children`s problems, focusing on developmental delays and disorders, behavioural problems, functional disabilities, social stresses, mental disorders including depression, and anxiety disorders.
  • Guarantee students’ safety: Ensure all students falling under an instructor or other person’s supervision are safe and accounted for. Follow safety precautions in the learning situation.
  • Assess the development of youth: Evaluate the different aspects of development needs of children and young people.
  • Observe student’s progress: Follow up on students’ learning progress and assess their achievements and needs.
  • Support the positiveness of youths: Help children and young people to assess their social, emotional and identity needs and to develop a positive self image, enhance their self esteem and improve their self reliance.
  • Maintain students’ discipline: Make sure students follow the rules and code of behaviour established in the school and take the appropriate measures in case of violation or misbehaviour.
  • Implement care programmes for children: Perform activities with children according to their physical, emotional, intellectual and social needs by using appropriate tools and equipment that facilitate interaction and learning activities.
  • Assist students with equipment: Provide assistance to students when working with (technical) equipment used in practice-based lessons and solve operational problems when necessary.
  • Assist in children’s development of basic personal skills: Encourage and facilitate the development of children’s natural curiosity and social and language abilities through creative and social activities such as storytelling, imaginative play, songs, drawing, and games.
  • Provide teacher support: Assist teachers in classroom instruction by providing and preparing lesson materials, monitoring the students during their work and helping them in their learning where necessary.
  • Support children’s wellbeing: Provide an environment that supports and values children and helps them to manage their own feelings and relationships with others.
  • Perform playground surveillance: Observe students’ recreational activities to ensure student safety and well-being and intervene when necessary.
  • Give constructive feedback: Provide founded feedback through both criticism and praise in a respectful, clear, and consistent manner. Highlight achievements as well as mistakes and set up methods of formative assessment to evaluate work.
  • Attend to children’s basic physical needs: Tend to children by feeding them, dressing them, and, if necessary, regularly changing their diapers in a sanitary manner.
  • Provide lesson materials: Ensure that the necessary materials for teaching a class, such as visual aids, are prepared, up-to-date, and present in the instruction space.
  • Assist students in their learning: Support and coach students in their work, give learners practical support and encouragement.
  • Encourage students to acknowledge their achievements: Stimulate students to appreciate their own achievements and actions to nurture confidence and educational growth.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of early years teaching assistant. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Learning difficulties: The learning disorders some students face in an academic context, especially Specific Learning Difficulties such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and concentration deficit disorders.
  • Common children’s diseases: The symptoms, characteristics, and treatment of diseases and disorders that often affect children, such as the measles, chickenpox, asthma, the mumps, and head lice.
  • Teamwork principles: The cooperation between people characterised by a unified commitment to achieving a given goal, participating equally, maintaining open communication, facilitating effective usage of ideas etc.
  • Curriculum objectives: The goals identified in curricula and defined learning outcomes.
  • First aid: The emergency treatment given to a sick or injured person in the case of circulatory and/or respiratory failure, unconsciousness, wounds, bleeding, shock or poisoning.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of early years teaching assistant. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Prepare lesson content: Prepare content to be taught in class in accordance with curriculum objectives by drafting exercises, researching up-to-date examples etc.
  • Facilitate teamwork between students: Encourage students to cooperate with others in their learning by working in teams, for example through group activities.
  • Escort students on a field trip: Accompany students on an educational trip outside the school environment and ensure their safety and cooperation.
  • Liaise with educational support staff: Communicate with education management, such as the school principal and board members, and with the education support team such as the teaching assistant, school counsellor or academic advisor on issues relating the students’ well-being.
  • Provide after school care: Lead, supervise or help with the assistance of indoor and outdoor recreational or educational activities after school or during school holidays.
  • Promote the safeguarding of young people: Understand safeguarding and what should be done in cases of actual or potential harm or abuse.
  • Teach kindergarten class content: Instruct pre-primary students in basic learning principles, in preparation for future formal learning. Teach them the principles of certain basic subjects such as number, letter, and colour recognition, days of the week, and the categorisation of animals and vehicles.
  • Perform classroom management: Maintain discipline and engage students during instruction.
  • Organise creative performance: Organise an event in which participants can express their creativity, such as putting on a dance, theatre, or talent show.
  • Maintain relations with children’s parents: Inform children`s parents of the activities planned, program`s expectations and children`s individual progress.

ISCO group and title

5312 – Teachers’ aides


References
  1. Early years teaching assistant – ESCO
  2. How to become a teaching assistant | Prospects.ac.uk
  3. Teacher Assistants : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  4. Teacher Assistant Job Description Template | Workable
  5. Elementary and Secondary School Teacher Assistants – StudentsScholarship.org
  6. Featured image: By Essential Educational Staffing – https://www.teachinginbangkok.com/, CC BY-SA 4.0
Last updated on November 12, 2022

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