Spotlights

Similar Titles

Child Development Teacher, Early Childhood Teacher, Group Teacher, Infant Teacher, Montessori Preschool Teacher, Nursery Teacher, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher (Pre-K Teacher), Teacher, Toddler Teacher

Job Description

Preschool teachers educate and care for children younger than age 5 who have not yet entered kindergarten. They teach language, motor, and social skills to young children. 

The Inside Scoop
Job Responsibilities

Preschool teachers typically do the following:

  • Teach children basic skills such as identifying colors, shapes, numbers, and letters
  • Work with children in groups or one on one, depending on the needs of children and on the subject matter
  • Plan and carry out a curriculum that focuses on different areas of child development
  • Organize activities so children can learn about the world, explore interests, and develop skills
  • Develop schedules and routines to ensure children have enough physical activity and rest
  • Watch for signs of emotional or developmental problems in each child and bring them to the attention of the child’s parents
  • Keep records of the children’s progress, routines, and interests, and inform parents about their child’s development

Young children learn from playing, problem-solving, and experimenting. Preschool teachers use play and other instructional techniques to teach children. For example, they use storytelling and rhyming games to teach language and vocabulary. They may help improve children’s social skills by having them work together to build a neighborhood in a sandbox or teach math by having children count when building with blocks.

Preschool teachers work with children from ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. Teachers include topics in their lessons that teach children how to respect people of different backgrounds and cultures.

Skills Needed

Communication skills. Preschool teachers need good writing and speaking skills to talk to parents and colleagues about children’s progress. They must also be able to communicate well with small children.

Creativity. Preschool teachers must plan lessons that engage young children. In addition, they need to adapt their lessons to suit different learning styles.

Interpersonal skills. Preschool teachers must understand children’s emotional needs and be able to develop relationships with parents, children, and coworkers.

Organizational skills. Teachers need to be organized to plan lessons and keep records of the children.

Patience. Working with children may be stressful. Preschool teachers should be able to respond calmly to overwhelming and difficult situations.

Physical stamina. Preschool teachers should have a lot of energy because working with children can be physically demanding.

Organization Types
  • Child daycare services    
  • Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations    
  • Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private    
  • Individual and family services
2020 Employment
469,600
2030 Projected Employment
556,000
Education and Training Needed

Preschool teachers typically need at least an associate’s degree.

Preschool teachers in center-based Head Start programs are required to have at least an associate’s degree. However, at least 50 percent of all preschool teachers in Head Start programs nationwide must have a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field. Those with a degree in a related field, such as psychology, must have experience teaching preschool-age children.

In public schools, preschool teachers are generally required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field. Bachelor’s degree programs include instruction on children’s development, teaching young children, and observing and documenting children’s progress.

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