What does a preschool teacher do?
Preschool teachers use hands-on approaches to teach children mainly through play and interactive activities. They help promote language and vocabulary development, enhance social skills, help children learn how to cooperate, and introduce basic math and science concepts. They use less structured teaching methods such as large group discussions and activities, small-group exercises, creative activities, and games. Preschool teachers create a fun learning environment that encourage children to explore and learn while keeping them safe. Preschool teachers regularly interact with other teachers and staff and keep parents informed on the progress of their children.
What kind of training does a preschool teacher need?
Preschool teachers need at least an associate degree, but many employers prefer candidates with a bachelor degree in early childhood education or other related field. Prospective preschool teachers typically complete courses in child development, child psychology, curriculum methods, instructional design, classroom management and behavior, and instruction resources. Most preschool teaching programs require student teaching experiences where teach in actual classrooms under the supervision of experienced teachers. Most employers require preschool teachers to be certified in infant and child CPR and first aid. All states require preschool teachers to be licensed. Requirements vary by state, but typically include completing an approved teacher-training program and passing an examination. Preschool teachers must keep up to date on teaching methods and regularly complete continuing education.
What are the prospects for a career as a preschool teacher?
Employment of preschool teachers is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 26% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increased awareness of the benefits of early childhood education will contribute to job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be from good to excellent depending on the location. Many job openings will stem from the need to replace preschool teachers that retire, transfer, or leave the profession for other reasons.
How much do preschool teachers make?
As of November 2009, preschool teachers with less than 1 year experience earn average hourly rates between $9.22 and $12.72. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average hourly rates between $9.05 and $12.56 (2).
A career as a preschool teacher is an excellent choice for individuals that enjoy working with young children. Preschool teachers must know how to relate to young children and understand their educational and social needs to foster meaningful learning experiences. They must be patient, creative, organized, encouraging, and motivating. They must be able to identify and adapt to individual differences and use a variety of teaching methods. Preschool teachers must also have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and be able to work as part of a team.