A preschool teacher educates children between 3 to 5 years of age and have not yet started kindergarten. They concentrate on the language, motor, basic academic and social skills of the child in order to prepare them to enter kindergarten or other school academics in the future.
Watch a video to learn what a preschool teacher does.
How to Become a Preschool Teacher
A preschool teacher usually needs an associate’s degree in early childhood education or a similar field. A one to two-year experience or training is normally desired along with on-the-job training and formal training under supervision. A recognized apprenticeship program may be helpful to gain employment in this occupation. This is also a rewarding career if you strive to have a profession that has a positive impact on others. To learn the benefits of preschool and what parents look for when choosing a preschool, visit the Mom Loves Best Blog article, How To Choose The Best Preschool For Your Kids (link opens in a new tab).
Job Description of a Preschool Teacher
A preschool teacher carries out the duties of instructing children of pre-school age, normally ranging from 3 to 5 years of age, in programs and activities created to develop intellectual growth, social skills and physical growth in a way that a small child can learn and prepare for their next level of school. They teach behavioral rules and boundaries for maintaining orderly conduct. The teacher leads and organizes activities, such as, arts and crafts, field trips, music, storytelling and games, designed to promote mental, social and physical development.
A preschool teacher would be involved in the observation of a child and evaluate their progress or performance concerning their physical health, behavior and social development. The teacher would teach basic skills to the children, like, shapes, colors, and numbers, as well as, social skills, personal hygiene and their letters. They read books to small groups or larger classes and care for the other basic needs of the children, like, changing diapers, feeding them or even dressing them. They encourage learning exploration by providing various resources and materials to use and manipulate in both imaginative play and learning activities.
A preschool teacher helps the children develop good personal hygiene and eating habits and serve meals and snacks within the required nutritional guidelines. A knowledge of education and training is required as well as mastery of the English language, like, the spelling and meaning of words, grammar, and rules of composition. They need to know the psychology that would include human behavior, personality and individual differences, motivation and learning, among others. They require extensive communication skills in speaking, instructing, listening and learning strategies.
A preschool teacher would have positive interaction and communication with co-workers, subordinates and/or supervisors and be able to coordinate, manage or train others. A preschool teacher works in childcare centers, private and public schools and charitable organizations. Most preschool teachers work 10 months of the year, however, some may work full-time.
Preschool Teacher Career Video Transcript
Preschoolers may do a lot of singing and finger painting, but teaching them takes more than fun and games. For most children, preschool is their vital first experience of structured learning and play, preschool teachers plan the lessons and create the environment that makes it all possible. Preschool teachers educate and care for children ages 2-4. They present reading, writing, science, and other subjects in ways their young students can understand.
Preschool teachers organize activities and routines to balance playtime, rest, and physical activity throughout the day. They teach the basics of language, numbers, shapes, and colors, as well as social skills. They also monitor children’s progress to share with parents, and flag any concerns for early intervention. Preschool teachers work in childcare centers, non-profit centers, and public and private schools. In public schools, preschool teachers generally work during school hours, and may have summers off or teach summer programs. In daycare settings, hours may be longer and schedules are typically year-round.
Education and training requirements range from a high school diploma and certification to a college degree. Childcare centers generally require a high school diploma and a certification. Head Start and other government programs may require a 2- or 4-year degree. Public school preschool teachers need a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field, and an early childhood education license.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Preschool Teachers.
National Center for O*NET Development. 25-2011.00. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.