Preschool Teacher

  • 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 different ethnic, racial, and religious backgrounds. Teachers include topics in their lessons that teach children how to respect people of different backgrounds and cultures.

Child day care services60%
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations17
Elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private15
Individual and family services3

It may be rewarding to see children develop new skills and gain an appreciation of knowledge and learning. However, it can also be tiring to work with young, active children all day.

Work Schedules

Preschool teachers in public schools generally work during school hours. Many work the traditional 10-month school year and have a 2-month break during the summer. Some preschool teachers may teach in summer programs.

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 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.

Steps to Take

Because of the importance of quality preschool teachers, the standards for entry into the field have increased as well. Preschool teachers can be found in Head Start programs, public schools, and private daycare programs. Some teachers work the traditional 10-month school year but others work a full 12-month year.

All preschool teachers need experience working with children, a high school diploma, a certification, and if you’re teaching in a public school, you’ll likely need to have a bachelor’s degree. You will need to have patience, be caring and kind, and quickly learn to develop classroom management skills.

What will you do?

A preschool teacher will have groups of students alternating through different learning experiences, learning centers, and play throughout the day. All of these learning experiences must be planned before the school day begins. The learning experiences need to be hands-on, enjoyable, and age and developmentally appropriate for each individual learner.

Types of learning experiences will include reading and reading readiness activities, reading aloud to students from books, hands-on science activities, and art activities that support learning about reading, writing, and science. Students will also learn social skills in lessons supplied by Head Start to their teachers.

Teachers are responsible for knowing age-appropriate classroom management strategies that help students learn how to take responsibility for their behaviors and their impact upon others.

Preschool teachers are also responsible for training and directing the work of teacher aides and volunteers in the classroom and communicating with parents and informing them what they can do as partners in their children’s education.

Preschool teachers usually do their lesson planning for upcoming lessons either in their classroom after school or at home. They may find that they need to reflect upon their teaching daily in order to ensure that they are creating a space in which all students are learning and growing educationally and socially every day. This will involve individualizing instruction, using grouping strategies, behavior contracts with some students, and scaffolding instruction in cases where students do not have requisite skills to meet the standards of the lesson.

Career Options and Salary Info for Teachers

Continuing education and specializations are highly valued in the Minnesota education system. STEM teachers and special education teachers continue to be some of the most in-demand careers in the education sector throughout the state. It is also important to note that Minnesota fully supports career development. Many programs are funded by state and federal grants to improve the quality of education provided in Minnesota. Though it has been noted that ECE professionals in rural areas have a greater challenge to reach these government-funded training and development programs than those who live in cities. It is also possible to pursue additional specialization and skill-based certifications online or at a nearby college or university.

Early Childhood Education Teaching Salaries in Minnesota

Each early childhood education position will vary based on a number of elements, such as years of experience, education qualifications, type of employer, and location. If you live and work in a metro area, you are likely to make more money than someone teaching at a rural school. Also, keep in mind that the number of teachers during the past six years, throughout the state of Minnesota, has increased by nearly 6% and is expected to grow by 6% again by 2026.