Early Childhood Work Experience in Spain for Young Professionals

Early childhood work experience in Spain

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Main Facts

  • Program
    Early Childhood Work Experience in Spain
  • Duration
    8 to 9 months
  • Application Deadline
    Apply by April 1st*
    *Note: For EU citizens, applications are also accepted after this date (limited opportunities)
  • Monthly Pay
    Up to €930 (20 teaching hours per week), according to Spanish salary standards and cost of living in Spain
  • Candidate’s Requirements
    – Early Childhood-related degrees, such as Education or Elementary Education
    – Native-level English speaker
    – Spanish skills are not required
    – Placement tutor’s contact
  • No Fees

This work experience is specially designed for all recently graduated Early Childhood Educators who would like to advance their careers through practical work experience in an international setting.

  • Learn firsthand about early childhood second language acquisition
  • Teach alongside experienced early childhood teachers in Spain
  • Join one of the 70 participating partner schools all over Spain
  • Receive a monthly stipend to live in Spain as a young professional

The complete program has two main components: on the one hand, teacher training through an initial workshop and a university TEFL course with a focus on Early Years; and, on the other, teaching practice in one of our partner schools in Spain.

Although speaking Spanish is not an initial requirement to join this program, once in Spain educators will have the chance to learn or improve their Spanish in a native environment. For instance, it is very common to arrange conversation exchanges with school teachers.

early childhood educator

The Context: Early Childhood Bilingual Programs are Increasing in Spain

Within the last years, Spanish schools have focused on second language acquisition in early years and want to immerse their pupils in other cultures from their very first steps. The schools seek to create high-quality environments for young children who are learning English as a second language. Consequently, early childhood jobs and work experiences opportunities for English native-level speaker professionals have greatly developed in Spain.

Indeed, around 70 out of our 200 partner schools all over Spain participate in this program. They are all private or concertado (charter) schools and most of them are bilingual (Spanish/English) or trying to improve the English language skills of their students with the help of our programs. Therefore, it is a good context to learn about the best teaching methods for pre-schoolers with a bilingual purpose. Schools in Spain are implementing improved methods to teach a second language to young children:

early childhood education teacher

About Meddeas’ Early Childhood Work Experience

1. Highlights of this Program for Early Childhood Education Teachers in Spain

International ECE teachers join the Early Years teaching-team of a Spanish private school during one academic year, interacting in English with students of up to 8 years of age. Activities will be conducted in split groups or accompanying the main teacher with the whole group.

  • Teach alongside experienced Early Childhood educators in a European educational system
  • Teach exclusively young children (aged 0 to 8), to learn more about preschool teaching
  • Receive ongoing support from two experienced tutors
  • Get a monthly stipend to live in Spain as a young professional
early childhood recent graduate

“I was selected by Meddeas and placed in Granada, a beautiful city in the south of Spain, in a wonderful school called Monaita, where I taught children aged between two and five for one academic year. 

The program is great. It is very beneficial and you learn a lot. I’m sure my experience abroad will set me far apart from other applicants in any position I apply for, as international experience is extremely valuable in many jobs. Teaching English abroad proves my ability to adapt to a new environment and to live and work with people from different cultural backgrounds.”

Catalina O’Brien, Early Years and Childhood Studies recent graduate, UCC (Ireland), and former participant. Full testimonial below

2. Requirements to Participate 

The candidate must:

  • Hold an Early Childhood-related degree (Bachelor’s, Master’s and/or PhD), obtained within the last 4 years
  • Provide the official assessment report from the most recent practicum or the contact information of the placement tutor
  • Have no criminal records
  • Be a native-level English speaker
  • Speaking Spanish is not required

If they don’t meet these requirements, candidates interested in teaching English in Spain can do it through Meddeas’ Language Assistants programs. The role, age groups, and training are different from those in Meddeas’ Early Childhood Work Experience.

3. The University Course: TEFL with an Emphasis on Early Years

This course is designed and delivered by the School of Education of the UIC. It is a compulsory part of the program, and provides educators with practical tools to help them at school. With a workload of 180 hours, it has a TEFL (Teaching English as Foreign Language) base with a special focus on Early Years students.

Each of the course modules is designed to provide participants with the guidance needed to carry out their teaching practice in an effective way. The content of the modules aims to cover each of the educational stages. One the modules is tailored for early years educators. It includes stage-related readings and videos that will broaden their knowledge to teach infants.

early childhood recent graduate

It begins with a one-day session in Barcelona in the UIC’s School of Education, after which participants will move to their destination and follow the rest of the course online, with the support of forums, tutorials, and a tutor. The completion and evaluation of the course will be based on the assessment of individual module reports. The completion and evaluation of the course will be based on the assessment of individual module reports. TEFL-related courses are internationally recognized and certified by the School of Education of the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya.

4. One-Day Workshop to Initiate the Early Childhood Work Experience in Spain

The pre-school workshop is designed to give early childhood educators very practical, hands-on tips and tools that they can use from day one of their teaching practice. Some basic information is given regarding what the educator can expect from Spanish native speaker preschoolers. Also, the workshop provides a variety of ideas on different classroom activities and games that the educator can use, focusing on how to teach vocabulary or storytelling.

5. Classroom Practice: Second Language Acquisition in Early Years

Educators will be able to test their skills and knowledge in a real-world setting in Spain. Participants will have the opportunity to use their initiative and creativity to plan and conduct lessons. Educators will focus primarily on helping preschoolers improve their English speaking skills through games and activities. Nevertheless, their tutors and the main teachers will them give general indications and guidelines on how to be a good preschool teacher.

There will be a good support system from two tutors: a professor from the UIC that will provide guidance, when needed, to complete the online course and an experienced early childhood teacher in the school where educators are placed.

early childhood jobs in Spain
nursery jobs Spain
preschool educator

6. Length of the Work Experience and Teaching Hours

The work experience runs from September/October to May/June and, alternatively, from January until June. If at the end of the first academic year the school’s report is positive, educators can apply for a second year, in the same school or in a different one.

Based on the educator’s performance, Meddeas issues a certificate of completion that can be used in the future as proof of the early childhood work experience in Spain.

7. Lodging Options

There are two lodging options: full board accommodation with a host family or independent housing.

“Overall, whether staying with a Spanish host family or living independently is the best option is a very tough decision to make. Living with a host family first during the first year and in an apartment, the second year was the right series of moves for me. I learned how to organize myself, prioritize tasks, and decide what was and wasn’t okay for me in my home life. Moreover, I learned about a culture from the inside out, something I’ll always treasure. I took the things that I learned in the first year in the homestay and put them into practice in my second year living on my own.”

Alexz C., University of Georgia (US). Read full testimonial

Starting a Successful Early Childhood Teaching Career after this Work Experience

Employers not only value the experience of teaching a second language in early childhood; they also understand the importance of life skills that can only be acquired from leaving the comfort of one’s home country.

This international early childhood work experience will enhance an educator’s resume and boost their employability. They will have the opportunity to:

  • Teach in a different educational system and in a totally different culture, growing both professionally and personally
  • Learn from experienced early childhood educators
  • Learn/improve their Spanish in a native environment

According to an article published in the US National Institute of Health, “the number of children living in the United States who are learning two languages is increasing greatly”. Early Childhood teachers need to understand and experience the process of second language acquisition in young learners in order to adapt to this environment and enhance their resumes when applying for early childhood jobs.

How is teaching to preschoolers in Spain compared to your country?

In Ireland, I taught in English which is the children’s first language but in Spain, since English is not their first language, it’s a lot more challenging, which makes it a lot more fun. It is so fulfilling and I always feel so proud and accomplished when the children ask for things in English. It’s so amazing to watch how fast young children learn and how much they enjoy the language because I always make sure that English is FUN! Therefore, they are always engaged and excited when it’s English time.

Did you find the university course useful?

The course provided by the program was very useful. The online tutorials and discussions were extremely beneficial, as we were constantly sharing ideas and tips with other program participants so we all learned a lot. What better way to learn than from others doing the same thing as you?

What did you learn from your school tutor and colleagues?

I was extremely lucky with my tutor at the school: she was so helpful, understanding, and kind throughout the entire year. My colleagues were always teaching me new things about Spain, recommending places for me to visit, etc. Not only did I improve my Spanish from my colleagues but learned about the educational system in Spain, which is something I’ve always been interested in.

What was the most valuable thing about moving to Spain to teach English to preschoolers?

Working as an Early Childhood teacher and living in Spain with a host family has given me first-hand knowledge of Spanish schools and Spanish life. In fact, I feel that teaching ESL to preschoolers is the most valuable skill in my professional career. Teaching English as a second language to two to five-year-olds is challenging, but I noticed that I made my activities more interesting and provoking in order for them to understand. I feel that I became very creative as time went by. The skill to be able to teach English as a foreign language is extremely valuable to me.

Why should Early Childhood recent graduate students apply to this program?

The program is great. It is very beneficial and you learn a lot. I’m sure my experience teaching English abroad will set me far apart from other applicants in any position I apply for, as international experience is extremely valuable in many jobs. Teaching English abroad proves my ability to adapt to a new environment and to live and work with people from different cultural backgrounds. I will always have something interesting to talk to about in an interview regarding my experience abroad.

Aside from this, Spain is a beautiful country with beautiful people. You will meet friends for life, that’s for sure. There is so much to do and see. I traveled to a ridiculous amount of Spanish cities, towns, and villages. It is so cheap to travel around here. Spain has the most beautiful beaches and a wonderful ski mountain in Sierra Nevada, GranadaSincerely, I can only recommend this program. It has changed my life.

What are you currently doing?

I’m currently working in Monaita, as they hired* me. After I completed my year with Meddeas, in July I received an email from the school director offering me a position in the school. I thought about it day in and day out and finally I decided I’d pause my plans at home and accept the job. I sincerely couldn’t be happier. This year I’m teaching three-year-olds, it is really wonderful. They learn from me and I learn from them. It’s amazing!

* Only EU passport or work-permit holders can get hired long term by a European school.
Getting hired by the school after the program is an exceptional situation and most participants return to work in their home country

Catalina O’Brien, recent graduate from UCC (Ireland)

REQUEST DETAILED INFORMATION AND THE APPLICATION FORM:

Name and Surname:*

E-mail:*

I accept the Privacy Policy

We never spam applicants or share their contact details