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What Qualities Should You Be Looking for in a Preschool Teacher?

As you are looking at the differences between a Home-Based Daycare and Preschools, you are probably asking yourself: What qualities should I be expecting my child’s teacher / caregiver to have?

When you set out to interview perspective options, here are some important questions and helpful tips that should aid in your selection process.

Important Questions:

Does my child’s teacher meet educational qualifications?

California State Licensing requires specific Early Childhood Development courses in the areas of psychology, sociology, education, and curriculum are successfully completed and included in any degree’s or certificates. They should also have had student teacher experience teaching under the guidance of a more experienced teacher. This preparation provides a solid understanding of various facets of child development, how young children learn, and how to facilitate that learning.

Will the teacher follow a curriculum offering sequential objectives that will meet my child’s needs?

Teachers ought to be flexible and able to change their lesson plans to meet the various needs and learning styles of their students. They should to be passionate about teaching and seek to find playful ways to make learning interesting and fun for all of the students.

How will the teacher keep me informed of my child’s progress?

Communication between home and school is vital. You should expect the teacher to continually and proactively communicate with you to collaborate ways to enhance your child’s development. Be sure that conferences are available, as well as developmental evaluations, newsletters, permission slips, written policies and procedures, etc.

Helpful Tips: (things to look for when visiting perspective preschools or daycares)

    • Is the teacher / caregiver following a daily routine? Children like to be able to predict what will happen next, it helps them to feel secure in their environment.
    • Does the teacher create smooth transitions? Transitions can be difficult for some children. An experienced teacher anticipates these moments and eases the tension with a song or activity.
    • Does the teacher help the children experience success when attempting new skills? Teachers should engage with the children during these activities to give support and build self-confidence.
    • Are activities set up to allow children to make choices? Children should be allowed to choose among various learning centers during free play time, offering them an opportunity to play, explore and interact.
    • Is there music playing?
    • Do you hear laughter? Is a kind and sincere voice bringing words of encouragement a regular part of the environment?
    • Does the teacher appear comfortable and enjoy interacting with the children, readily offering hugs and affirming touches?
    • Does the teacher set appropriate and consistent limits on children’s behavior? Are rules reinforced using positive terms such as, “walking feet inside”?
    • Does the teacher help the children resolve interpersonal conflicts, and guide them in ways to get along with each other?
    • Is the teacher an active listener, and ask open ended questions allowing the children to draw their own conclusions and expand on their own ideas?
    • Does the teacher value the children’s ideas, considerate of their feelings, and demonstrate a high regard for them through her warm and affectionate manner?

Look for these interactions. If you see them, you have found a talented early childhood educator.

Diane Hurst, Preschool Director

California State Licensed Early Childhood Instructor with over 30 years experience and Director of Kimber Hills Preschool in Fremont, CA.

 

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