Just because your little learner’s lead teacher makes it look easy, doesn’t mean that acting as an early childhood educator is simple. Teaching preschool age children requires highly specialized training when it comes to understanding the principles involved in working with this age group. This includes a full knowledge of early education, creating curriculum, child development and much more.
If you are wondering how, why or who qualifies your preschooler’s teacher to work with kids, there are several possible answers. The National Association for the Education of Young Children is a biggie when it comes to advising potential preschool professionals on how to prepare themselves for the challenge of working with young children.
The NAEYC notes in its position statement on “Professional Preparation Standards” that children benefit from a teacher’s specialized education and training. Additionally, some state or local childcare licensing may have specific rules for professional preparation, such as having a bachelor’s degree in child development or working with young kids for a specific number of years.
Child Development and Learning
The overriding principle when it comes to teaching preschoolers is promoting child development and learning. When it comes to the preschool environment, why bother teaching if the educator isn’t trying to increase positive developmental and learning outcomes.
In order to do this your child’s teacher must both understand human development and how to help kids to learn. This also includes knowing what is developmentally appropriate in terms of expectations.
For example, if your child’s preschool teachers expects that your little learner will know how to write a paragraph by the end of the year, she has unreasonable expectations. On the other hand, if she believes that your child will have the ability to write, or trace, the first letter of her name, then she is in the game when it comes to knowing how preschoolers develop.
The kids aren’t the only people that your child’s preschool teacher has to deal with on a daily basis. During the course of the school day, week and year the teacher has to build bonds with the parents of the children in the class. As the parent you play a key role in your child’s education.
A quality preschool teacher knows this and will involve you, as well as dad, in your child’s learning process. She may do this through conferences, classroom activities, asking for volunteer helpers, email or a class newsletter.
Your child’s teacher doesn’t only have one job. This doesn’t mean that she moonlights as a bartender, although she might do this it refers more to her multi-functional role as an educator. While creating curriculum and teaching preschoolers are main functions of the job, another equally as important principle is assessment.
The educational experts at NAEYC note that teachers should have the ability to make valid and reliable assessments. This includes evaluating the kids’ strengths, weakness and area for improvement over the course of the preschool year.