Kindergarten teachers play a crucial part of the early development and social integration of young children. For many students, the kindergarten teacher provides their first glimpse of the core educational topics–math, reading, writing, social studies and science–that they are going to pursue for the next 12 school years.
Life in the classroom
A good kindergarten teacher will have mastered dozens of games and play skills that allow young students to weave fun along with learning. Subjects introduced at the pre-school level, such as number, letter and color recognition, phonics, nature and science, are more deeply explored in the kindergarten classroom. Another job of a good kindergarten teacher is helping students get excited and enthusiastic about learning and their education, children’s book publisher, Scholastic, reports. Good kindergarten teachers also help their students take the steps necessary to becoming independent learners and thinkers.
Educational requirements for kindergarten teachers
Kindergarten and elementary school teachers typically complete a bachelor’s degree program, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, as well as earn a teaching credential–a requirement in all 50 states. Although educational programs vary by institution, coursework for kindergarten teachers often includes study in the following topics:
- Early childhood education
- Learning environments and social relationships
- Family and community involvement
- Child health and safety
- Resolving conflicts with young children
Kindergarten teachers are required to complete a period of supervised teaching as well. This understudy work typically is completed in the final year of study of an early childhood education program. During this time, new kindergarten teachers often get their first taste of working with young children, and under the guidance of a master teacher, they can refine their classroom communication and teaching skills.
Job outlook and salary expectations
Employment for kindergarten teachers is expected to grow by 15 percent, the BLS reports. Schools with the best options are in rural areas and inner cities rather than suburban districts. Teachers who are bilingual can boost their chances for employment, the BLS states. Ninety-four percent of all kindergarten teachers were employed at elementary or secondary schools.
Heavily-populated states, such as California and Texas, are the largest employers of kindergarten teachers, but teachers in large metropolitan areas typically brought home the best pay.