Preschool Teachers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

You should take child development and other classes that involve you with child care, such as family and consumer science classes. You will also need a fundamental understanding of the general subjects you will be introducing to preschool students, so take English, science, and math. Also, take classes in art, music, and theater to develop creative skills.

Postsecondary Training

Specific education requirements for preschool and kindergarten teachers vary from state to state and also depend on the specific guidelines of the school or district. Many schools and child care centers require preschool teachers to have a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or a related field, but others accept adults with a high school diploma and certification in early childhood education. Some preschool facilities offer on-the-job training to their teachers, hiring them as assistants or aides until they are sufficiently trained to work in a classroom alone. A college degree program should include course work in a variety of liberal arts subjects, including English, history, and science, as well as nutrition, child development, psychology of the young child, and sociology.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

In some states, licensure may be required. Many states accept the child development associate credential (awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition) or the certified childcare professional designation from National Early Childhood Program Accreditation. Individual state boards of education can provide specific licensure information. Kindergarten teachers working in public elementary schools almost always need teaching certification similar to that required by other elementary school teachers in the school. Other types of licensure or certification may be required, depending upon the school or district. These may include first-aid or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Preschool teachers need experience working with young children. They should understand the needs of this age group and know how to plan activities designed to enhance their cognitive, emotional and social development. Patience is important when working with young children as well as good communication skills. These skills are also essential to work effectively with the parents of these children. Because young children look up to adults and learn through example, it is especially important that as a preschool teacher, you be a good role model. It will also help to have a good sense of humor.