Early Childhood Programs Specialist

Organization: Woodland Park Zoo (AZA Member)
Location: Seattle, WA, United States
Job or Internship: Job

Accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, award-winning Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is famed for pioneering naturalistic exhibits and setting a standard for zoos all over the world. The zoo is helping to save endangered species in Washington State and around the world. By inspiring visitors and others to learn, care and act, Woodland Park Zoo is making a difference in our planet’s future.

This is your opportunity to join the dynamic Education team at Woodland Park Zoo. Applications are now being accepted for Early Childhood Programs Specialist in the Zoo Experiences department. There is one part-time, temporary, non-benefited position to be filled at this time. The pay rate is $14.24 per hour.


Responsible for developing zoo classes and programs, teaching programs and leading tours for young children and their caregivers. Programs include but are not limited to: Zoomazium programming, Nature Exchange programming, and on-grounds classes. Working in collaboration with other program specialists, the person in this position will use his/her skills in early childhood development to develop programs, associated curricula, props and other resources for early childhood/caregiver audiences. Present engaging programs, zoo experiences and animal encounters to target early childhood audiences (ages 0-8). Assist with training and implementation of best practices in early childhood education for staff and volunteers.


• Research, develop, and teach zoo classes and programs for young children and their caregivers including outreach programs.

• Work cooperatively as a member of the Zoomazium core presentation team presenting daily programs such as Creature Feature and puppet shows, hosting Nature Exchange, assisting with special events and facilitating early childhood programs.

• Assist with development and presentation of interpretive and early childhood training for staff and volunteers (including teens).

• Work cooperatively with specialists, coordinators and the Education Research team on new techniques and implementation of program evaluation.

• Update existing early childhood programs, handouts and training materials.

• Assist with special events in Zoomazium and play an integral role in supporting zoo-wide events with programming connecting children to nature.

• Serve on intra-department program development teams.

• Handle and present animals from a variety of taxa.

• This position requires a non-standard, flexible work schedule that includes Saturdays, Sundays, some evenings and holidays.

• Perform other duties as assigned.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

• Ability to develop and present creative, mission-driven programming to young children and family audiences in a fast-paced environment.

• Desire and proven ability to work with young children, families and caregivers.

• Possess general knowledge of informal science in early childhood and developmentally appropriate practices.

• Possess general knowledge of natural history and enthusiasm for interpreting biofacts and objects.

• Ability to work with existing early childhood partners and cultivate new education partners.

• Ability to work effectively as a team member, and independently with little supervision.

• Flexibility in dealing with program delivery and changes in deadlines and operation protocol.

• Ability to work a non-standard/flexible schedule, which includes weekends, some evenings and holidays.

• Ability to handle education program animals and to become a WPZ certified animal presenter.

• Commitment to the mission of the zoo and the institutions’ Core Values.


A minimum of four years combined education and experience in early childhood education; program and curriculum development with experience presenting thematically-based interpretive programs and/or classes to audiences of young children, families and caregivers; curriculum development; and program implementation/evaluation. Minimum of one year of experience with a zoo, aquarium, museum, park or other informal education facility preferred.


• Valid Washington State Driver License

• CPR/First Aid Certification


Proficient and experienced with Microsoft Office applications; particularly Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Must be able to work with customized databases and technology, and conduct Internet research.


Must be enthusiastic and customer service oriented and deal with clients in a courteous and professional manner. Enjoy working with the public including diverse populations and people of all ages.


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The employee must frequently lift and/or move up to 35 pounds and occasionally lift and/or move up to 50 pounds while handling, lifting, and storing program supplies, kits, and bulk food supplies. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, peripheral vision, depth perception and ability to adjust focus. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk or hear. The employee is frequently required to sit. The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk; reach with hands and arms; climb or balance and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl while setting up displays, transporting class props and materials.


The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly exposed to outdoor weather conditions. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate to loud.


Applications are only accepted online through our Jobs page at www.zoo.org; no other forms of application will be accepted. Cover letter and resume are REQUIRED when applying for this position. NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Open until filled – apply now!

Woodland Park Zoo is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, dedicated to a policy of non-discrimination in employment on any basis including race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, or gender identity/expression.