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.
- 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
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.
- 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