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How to be a Preschool Teacher

What do preschool teachers do? Preschool teachers help develop children into learners and start them on social skills. The preschool experience enhances a child's view of the world and their surroundings. Preschool has been shown to greatly improve the chances of the child succeeding in school. Preschool teachers use various methods for lessons such as music, art, and games.

For preschoolers, learning is playing. Preschool teachers will need to come up with activities for all aspects of learning. These early preschool skills are numbers, letters, and social skills. Preschool is not as rigid as kindergarten. Preschool teachers can teach one on one, but mostly go for group activities. Group activities for preschoolers can be everyone working on a project, such as building a town with blocks. But a preschool group activity can also be everyone working on their own finger painting.

A group math activity can be the preschool teacher having the students in a circle and counting blocks as the teacher stacks them. The goal of a preschool teacher should be to instill basic letters, numbers, counting, colors, and have the preschooler knowing how to play and interact with others.

Skills of a Preschool Teacher

A preschool teacher must want to work with small children.
A preschool teacher must know how to organize and conduct group activites.
A preschool teacher must know how to facilitate social skills.
A preschool teacher must realize the goal is happy, engaged students. Not quiet ones except perhaps during nap time.
A preschool teacher is a nurturer not a disciplinarian.
A preschool teacher knows how to incorporate learning, either academic or social, in all activities.
A preschool teacher will love reading stories, doing art, listening and singing to music, and supervising games.

The requirements for being a preschool teacher are different in most every state. Contact your state department of education to find out what they are for your state. If you want to be a preschool teacher in a public school, you may need to get a bachelors degree in early childhood education. There are also associate degree programs. The national certification is done through

Most all states require some college to be a preschool teacher. This does not include having a home-based daycare or preschool.

Typical requirements for Preschool Teachers in California

Use this as a guide as to what other states may require.

For childcare and preschools, 12 units in early childhood development is required. You may also need other experience and correlating units.

A Child Development Permit Teaching Credential requires 24 units, and allows you to teach in many state programs. To be a Head Start Teacher, a bachelors degree is required. All of the preceding will also have some type of CPR training as well. Contact your closest community college for details.

For childcare that you provide in your home, there are no college requirements. But CPR certification is a must. Contact the state for requirements on how many children you can have in your home.

In California, you need a license for home daycare if you are caring for more than one family not related to you. The California website is To hold daycare in a separate building needs a different license and is a more stringent process. Contact the same website above.

Be sure you are licensed if you need to be! There are huge fines. Contact your own state for the rules.

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