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What Does a Preschool Teacher Do?

When you learned your ABCs, the dedicated work of a preschool teacher was one of the reasons you grasped the concept so easily. They help children between the ages of 3 and 5 prepare for kindergarten.

They teach social, emotional and academic skills through a combination of structured learning and play. Rhyming, storytelling, music, art, dance and acting games are part of a less structured approach to teaching at this level. They also help students learn to socialize with their peers and adults. Preschool teachers plan lessons and activities to teach children basic motor and language skills.

They work at child care centers, public and private schools, and for religious and civic organizations. Some preschool teachers in public schools have the summers off, while others work year-round.

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Median Salary $
47,000
Jobs Available
14,500+
A preschool teacher helps students learn their shapes
Successful preschool teachers possess patience, kindness and the ability to respond properly to students’ developing emotional and physical needs. (Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock)
Duties + Responsibilities
  • Ensure that children are supervised at all times
  • Establish routines and discipline
  • Build children’s self-esteem through positive guidance
  • Communicate with parents and discuss their children’s development
  • Develop activities and a curriculum that promote literacy and math concepts
  • Teach children basic skills such as colors, shapes, numbers and letters
  • Teach children how to respect people of different genders, backgrounds and cultures
  • Ensure the classroom is well-maintained and safe
Education + Training

Requirements for preschool teachers vary by state and by facility. Most jobs typically require an associate degree. For example, some federal Head Start programs require an associate degree, but public schools typically require a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field. Those with a degree in another field must have experience teaching preschool children.

Some states also require preschool teachers to obtain the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential offered by the Council for Professional Recognition. The CDA credential must be renewed every three years. Public school teachers must be licensed to teach early childhood education. Continuing education is required by most states to maintain that license.

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You
  • Have good patience and can respond calmly to a variety of situations
  • Are creative in your ability to inspire learning 
  • Have good communication skills 
  • Collaborate well
  • Have good organizational skills
  • Have the physical stamina to keep up with energetic young children

Preschool Teacher training in your area

Coordinates

Early Childhood Care and Education, A.A.S

Southern Crescent Technical College
Griffin (0.0 Miles)

State Initial Early Childhood Education Certificate

Bellevue College
Bellevue (0.0 Miles)

Early Childhood Education - Early Care Provider Certificate

Northcentral Technical College
Wausau (0.0 Miles)

Child Care Operator Certificate (Online)

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute
Hudson (0.0 Miles)

Infant/Toddler Care Certificate

Durham Technical Community College
Durham (0.0 Miles)

Early Childhood Education- Director, A.A.S.

Harper College
Palatine (0.0 Miles)

Early Childhood Education, A.A.S.

Morton College
Cicero (0.0 Miles)

Child Development and Early Education, A.A.S

Mt. Hood Community College
Gresham (0.0 Miles)

Early Childhood Education Infant/Toddler Certificate

Bristol Community College
Fall River (0.0 Miles)

Family Child Care Certificate of Achievement

College of the Desert
Palm Desert (0.0 Miles)

Program Supervision and Mentoring Certificate of Achievement

Foothill College
Los Altos Hills (0.0 Miles)

Child Development Early Interventionist Certificate of Achievement

Modesto Junior College
Modesto (0.0 Miles)
Image
Meredith Lipman, preschool teacher ambassador, plays with students Amber and Robbie
Meet Ambassador Meredith Lipman

Meredith Lipman was always toying with the idea of becoming a teacher — she just wasn't sure how. But after she got a degree in ASL-English Interpreting, her path became clear.

Now she's the lead preschool teacher at Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, teaching 3- to 5-year-olds who are all deaf or hard-of-hearing.

"Every activity is a moment they can learn language," says Meredith. "It is my job to make learning language fun through play."

She loves how she can incorporate her creativity into everything she does. 

"The sky's the limit! I have such freedom in my job to create the environment I want. I can’t say I’d have the same freedom in other professions, which made this line of work so attractive to me."

The biggest misconception about her job? That teachers only teach. In fact, they do so much more — from parental support to consulting and content creation and beyond.

"I'm all heart — I needed a profession that was too," says Meredith, who says despite the obstacles and preconceived notions, she has "zero regret about choosing this profession." 

Find Preschool Teacher Jobs in Your Area

Coordinates

Preschool Teacher Assistant

Primrose School
Cottage Grove ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 4 months 3 weeks ago

Lead Teacher

North Country Academy
Sterling Heights ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 week 6 days ago

Infant Teacher

Primrose School
Grapevine ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 4 months 3 weeks ago

Lead Teacher - La Petite Academy of Aurora (17001 E. Iliff)

North Country Academy
Aurora ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 week 6 days ago

Preschool Teacher

Primrose School
Gilbert ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 4 months 3 weeks ago

Preschool Teacher

North Country Academy
Avondale ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 week 6 days ago

Infant Teacher

Primrose School
Keller ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 4 months 3 weeks ago

Lead Teacher

North Country Academy
Winston Salem ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 week 6 days ago