What Is a Preschool Teacher and How to Become One
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What Does a Preschool Teacher Do?
Preschool teachers develop the language, vocabulary, and interpersonal skills of children ages three through five, though some schools may enroll kids as young as two-years-old. These teachers take on a critical role in the growth of their students and use tools such as interactive play, songs, reading aloud, and repetitive writing to further their development. Much like elementary school teachers, preschool teachers create lesson plans for their students. Most curriculums involve a combination of academics and play-based learning.
Is a Preschool Teacher a Good Job?
Being a preschool teacher takes a lot of patience and a nurturing disposition. When working with children, no two days are ever the same, and preschool teachers often have to wear many different hats. One moment, you might be dealing with a skinned knee, and the next, you’re getting everyone ready for nap time. Working with children often means adjusting your plans based on their learning styles, so it is essential to find ways to maintain their attention throughout each lesson. Preschool teachers often utilize songs, arts and crafts, or another form of stimuli to keep even the youngest students alert, inspired, and attentive. For those who enjoy watching young children grow and learn, teaching preschool is a rewarding career.
How Do You Become a Preschool Teacher?
Education requirements for preschool teachers vary, based on the employer. Some schools may require an associate degree, while others need their teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field. Most states also require preschool teachers to earn the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. This credential requires at least 120 hours of professional education and at least 480 hours of professional experience. CPR and first aid training are also helpful for preschool teachers. Seek internships or preschool teacher aide positions to gain hands-on experience in the classroom before seeking a full-time position.
Preschool Teacher Job Description Sample
With this Preschool Teacher job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember though, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for their Preschool Teacher position.
We are seeking an energetic and experienced Preschool Teacher to join our staff. You will help the lead teacher develop curriculum for the different age groups within our student population and implement lesson plans throughout the school day, including small group rotations. Our program boasts a low student-to-teacher ratio and individualized care to ensure all of our students learn at their own pace. We prefer candidates who have a background in early childhood developmental education and extensive experience working with young children.
Duties and Responsibilities
- Collaborate with other teachers to develop age-appropriate curriculum
- Prepare for lessons by gathering materials or setting up activities
- Read stories and lead students through alphabet and letter recognition
- Engage and encourage students to use their language skills; develop social skills and manners
- Monitor students' playtime and physical activities
- Work with individual students or small groups of students to reinforce learning of materials
- Enforce school-wide safety procedures, disciplinary codes, and rewards
- Supervise students in class, between classes, during lunch, and play periods
- Ensure space and shared toys are clean, sanitized, and orderly
- Document student developments and progress to share with parents
Requirements and Qualifications
- High school diploma or equivalent; associate or bachelor's degree in early childhood education, teaching, or related field preferred
- Certification as Certified Childcare Professional a plus
- 1+ years of experience working with young children
- Must meet all state licensure requirements
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills
- Proficient with Microsoft Office
- Patient and compassionate to young children's needs and emotions