Kindergarten is the passage between a nursery school – for early childhood care, and a primary school – for the first three or four grades of formal education. It is an extremely important passage for kids, and therefore requires special skills from teachers who handle them.
Kindergarten teachers have practically the same responsibilities as other teachers. It is important for them to teach kids basic reading and writing skills, apart from showing them how to play happily with other kids and develop responsible classroom behavior.
A professional kindergarten teacher should have the capability to assess where each of her kids is emotionally and academically progressing in order to set realistic goals. With the exception of extracurricular activities of an art/music class, physical education, or lunch, all other lessons are normally given in the same classroom.
A day in a kindergarten school
- Morning: Kindergarten teachers typically begin their day early by getting the classroom ready and fine-tuning the lessons of the day. They may guide kids to keep their things in place the moment they enter the classroom.
- Mid-Morning: By the time its mid-morning, the teacher may facilitate learning the lessons of the day in two ways: she may make the kids sit together in one big group taking the lead role herself; or she may, withdrawing into the background, make them take the lead role and work in smaller groups.
- Lunch: Kids are taken out for recess and lunch. While they are busy playing and eating, the teacher checks the homework, cleans up the classroom, and prepares lessons for the afternoon.
- Afternoon: Once the recess is over, the teacher may ask the kids to take a brief nap immediately after recess. Then the afternoon instruction begins.
- After kids leave school: Kindergarten teachers may have work to do after the children leave. This may involve calling parents, planning classroom activities and getting the materials ready for the following day, checking homework and meeting with school administrators for various purposes.
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum educational qualification you need to become a kindergarten teacher. However, many states would be happy with you if you have completed a master’s degree, and they would reward you with a better salary.
If you want to teach in a public school, you are required further to obtain state certification that demonstrates you have the capability of teaching elementary school. This is normally done by attending certification classes, completing a practicum and taking standardized tests.
Areas of specialization
If you are desirous of becoming a kindergarten teacher, you have the same choices of specialization as for an elementary school teacher. You can complete as well additional training to teach art, music, or physical education. With a master’s degree in special education, you can be sure of getting better salaries and positions, as you will be able to teach the young kids with greater expertise.
Before getting the job of a kindergarten teacher, you may have to work as an intern in an educational institution. Internship would be a great way for you to gain experience while going to school for a certificate or a degree. All such training and experience will give you a head start when you begin your career as a kindergarten teacher.