If you're considering preschool for your child, the first question that may come to mind is: "What makes a good preschool teacher?"
Well, the qualities of a good preschool teacher vary depending on your needs. However, some general guidelines can help in narrowing down your search.
Every parent has a different idea of what qualities make a good preschool teacher.
Some parents might think that the essential quality is patience, while others say creativity. What do you think?
Teaching preschool is not for the faint of heart. Managing to teach, encourage, and nurture several small children with vastly different personalities is a considerable feat.
When you also consider preschool teachers have to communicate effectively with parents, deal with the occasional potty accident, and always ensure their school offers the best programs for preschoolers, it becomes clear preschool teachers need to have some particular skill sets and personality traits.
Characteristics Of A Great Preschool Teacher
While many good preschool teachers are around, the very best preschool teachers seem to share the following qualities.
If you have a burning desire to make a real difference in the lives of young children, you have one of the essential qualities of a great preschool teacher.
There will be many days when teaching feels extra tricky. Whether the pay seems too low or the parents act ungrateful, getting through the low teaching points can be overwhelming.
However, your positive drive will sustain you through the hard times when you have a true passion for educating young children.
Teaching preschool isn't just a job. It's a huge responsibility to shape the minds and emotions of small children.
A teacher who wants to clock in and out each day, but doesn't honestly care about what they are doing, isn't going to give a child the best preschool education or experience.
Preschool teachers should be passionate about what they do.
They should be interested in finding new ways to reach and teach children, should find delight when children "get it," and should look forward to going to work.
Of course, teaching preschool has its drawbacks, and bad days can be expected, but the best preschool teachers roll with setbacks. They're there because they love what they do.
Along with an undying passion for teaching, great preschool educators need plenty of patience.
Every class has students with different developmental skills. But, especially with young children, constant reminders about manners, hygiene and classroom procedures are part of a typical school day.
It takes patience to keep the classroom environment balanced and in order from slow learners to behavioural challenges.
On top of that, working with demanding administrators, difficult parents, or other teachers requires extra patience outside the classroom.
Great preschool teachers understand how to keep their cool under many different kinds of pressure.
The best preschool teachers understand mistakes and accidents happen, especially with toddlers.
They patiently handle upsets with a sense of humour and don't let minor issues phase them.
They keep the end goal in mind and don't dwell on frustrations at the moment.
Children respond well to these non-judgmental reactions to their behaviour, and they feel more confident to try new things when they know they'll be patiently encouraged or redirected.
Good And Engaging Personality
A great teacher is kind, gentle and has a good personality. They should engage students with their teaching styles and hold their attention in all discussions.
Students are attracted to teachers with decent and likable personalities.
Preschool teachers should bring some life to their classrooms by engaging their students in exciting activities.
They should create an atmosphere where students feel they can take an active part in the discussion.
Knowledgeable And Up-to-date
Teachers need thorough knowledge and an in-depth understanding of the subjects they teach and should remain up-to-date with all the latest developments in those fields.
Complete knowledge of topics being taught is essential to capture students' attention and participation.
Creativity in the classroom is more than doing fun art projects for your students. For instance, you may be asked to teach with limited resources or in a restricted environment.
Your class may also require creativity on your part to teach children from different cultures or backgrounds.
You may also need to draw from your creative side to take risks and make decisions outside the norm in the best interest of your students.
Of course, creativity is essential to make learning fun and exciting for your preschool class.
Good Listener And Communicator
Students will not be interested in a class if they feel that the teacher is not listening to them. Apart from being a good listener, a great teacher is also a good communicator.
As teachers have to accomplish many things-organising the classroom, covering a vast curriculum and bulletin boards, they should remain organised with their teaching materials and aids.
Teachers should have a high level of maturity when dealing with their students' problems and managing any conflicts. They must handle each situation appropriately so that students can learn from them.
Passion For Teaching And Children
A good preschool teacher is passionate about teaching and loves to work with children. Teachers should develop a good rapport and trusting relationships with their students as they immensely influence their students' lives.
A great teacher shows compassion to students who struggle academically and reach out to them when they need support. They should be emotionally available to their students.
Teachers should remain confident in difficult situations. They should possess the ability to learn and change and be prepared to answer any questions. They should remember that they can change the lives of their students.
Teachers should be innovative and be able to think on their own when facing any challenges.
They should teach innovatively so they can engage all the students in the classroom activities.
Teachers should be bold in their approach and take risks in their teaching styles.
They should not be afraid to be different and organise unconventional classroom discussions and group activities.
Teachers should display their leadership qualities to influence the students and guide them in the right direction. In addition, they should motivate and encourage the students to be successful.
Preschool teachers should keep their teaching style lively and unpredictable.
They should try to bring a new and fresh perspective to the lessons by associating them with personal experience and drawing real-life examples.
You can do everything planned out for each lesson, but great preschool teachers know that unexpected turns can happen at any time.
When you remain flexible in dealing with change, you can handle almost anything.
This could include something as simple as having an alternative plan for rainy days or, more drastic like adjusting your entire curriculum to accommodate a reduced budget.
Even the very nature of teaching young children requires constant fine-tuning and dealing with minor issues.
By staying flexible, you can tackle every kind of educational challenge with poise and grace.
Great preschool teachers are dedicated to their students and their career.
When you are determined to stand up for your beliefs on behalf of your educational values or your students' needs, you will respect your colleagues, parents and students.
Moreover, excellent educators are dedicated to the love of learning and inspire their students to learn more.
At the preschool level, they are making the classroom a place where fun learning can resonate with children for the rest of their lives.
Most of all, genuinely successful teachers are dedicated to bringing out the best in their students.
Even though children are no longer forced to fall in line and conform to one best way of teaching (the teacher's practice, of course) like in the olden days, some teachers still have trouble allowing each child to learn in their way.
The best preschool teachers know children come from different families, backgrounds, and experiences.
They understand neurological differences are often at play, and they observe and interact with their students in such a way that helps them determine each child's best path forward.
A great preschool teacher doesn't try to fit every child into one box. For example, if Child A needs to wiggle more than Child B, a great preschool teacher will adapt an activity to make that possible.
A great preschool teacher understands when a limit has been reached and doesn't try to skirt around it or avoid it.
If a child is struggling with a developmental delay, she won't hold him to impossible standards and ignore the issue.
She'll communicate with the parents and come up with realistic solutions that will work for everyone.
Sometimes, a lesson goes over a child's head. Sometimes, children can't focus because it's raining outside.
A great preschool teacher will recognise when things aren't going in the right direction and willfully redirect the children.
The problematic lesson plan will be abandoned in favour of a wiggle activity that teaches the same concept.
The children will be taken to the window to watch the rain and discuss weather patterns.
Whatever comes up, a great preschool teacher will think quickly to keep the children engaged and learning.
A great preschool teacher watches how the children interact, noticing if one child is withdrawn or if a child is monopolising all the activities.
Great preschool teachers get down and interact with the children, giving them a close-up view for understanding how each child thinks and allowing them to anticipate or avoid potential troubles.
Most importantly, the best preschool teachers love their students.
This love helps motivate their actions towards kind solutions to problems and joyful learning experiences. When children feel loved and safe, they feel free to learn.
Qualities To Look For In A Good Preschool Or Nursery
To help make choosing the right preschool or nursery program a little easier for you and your family, we wanted to outline some of the essential qualities that all outstanding preschools have.
All outstanding preschools should have A solid reputation in the community, a warm and comforting environment, passionate teachers and staff, active learning, child-friendly facilities.
A Solid Reputation
Good word-of-mouth is the way many families narrow down their search for an excellent nursery or preschool program.
Hearing from trusted friends about their excellent experiences is a great way to start the process.
You might also consider checking social media groups that are geared to families of young children.
Some questions you may consider asking are:
- Is your child happy to go to school?
- Do they share new things they learned while at school?
- What do you like about it?
- Are the teachers experienced and nurturing?
- How does the school communicate with parents?
- Is the program play-based, academic, or both?
- What extras does the program have? Are there languages, outdoor play spaces, nature education, art, music, science, library, etc.?
At the same time, it is worth asking your acquaintances about what the school's reaction to COVID-19 looked like last spring if their child was enrolled at the time.
Questions like the ones below can help you gauge whether or not other parents found the response acceptable given the circumstances:
- How organised was the school creating a plan of action when the pandemic emerged back in the spring?
- Did you feel that the school administration did an excellent job of communicating with you as everything unfolded?
- Was a form of distance learning available, and if so, what did it look like?
- What does the school's plan look like for the year ahead?
A Warm And Comforting Environment
Nursery or preschool is often a child's first experience away from home and their parents' loving care.
It's crucial that you feel like you can work shoulder to shoulder with the classroom teachers.
Visit the campus while school is in session so that you can see first-hand how the school operates.
How do the teachers interact with the students? How do the students interact with the teachers, with each other? Does the classroom feel fun, engaging, and safe?
The answers to these questions are critical now, as we (young children especially) are forced to deal with much more stress and anxiety than usual.
If a school visit is not possible due to social distancing measures, consider registering for a virtual open house or virtual tour, which many schools and programs are now offering.
While it may not be possible to observe a classroom in person, this will still allow you to speak with one or several faculty members.
This will help you be more empowered to evaluate your options before deciding where to enrol your child.
Passionate, caring, and qualified teachers and staff should be a priority.
As wonderful as a campus might be, it's the teachers and administration that make the program.
While it is evident that you should only be working with schools that employ qualified, trained faculty, passion can be harder to identify.
But it is one of the critical differentiators of an okay preschool and a great preschool.
When you visit the preschools and nurseries on your shortlist, keep an eye out for educators who speak kindly and respectfully with the children.
These are the teachers who want your child to succeed and who will do everything in their power to keep them happy and healthy in the process.
Some of the most essential qualities that a great preschool or nursery teacher will exhibit include:
- Experience and dedication
- A sense of humour
- Great communication skills
- A warm personality
Consider asking the faculty and staff questions about:
- What do you enjoy most about being at this school?
- What do you love about teaching nursery or preschool?
- How long have you been teaching?
Young children learn best by doing or experiencing—through discovery and play. We call this "active learning" or "hands-on learning," and it's an essential characteristic of any high-quality preschool or nursery program.
Lots of reading time, arts and crafts, music, dance, exploring the natural world, outdoor play—these are all critically important to young children.
In addition to laying the foundations of a solid education by exposing children to reading and writing, play builds curiosity, teaches empathy and problem-solving skills, and helps children learn essential pre-academic skills and concepts like counting, recognising colours and shapes, building coordination and fine motor skills.
A joy of learning and a love of school starts early and can flourish in the right environment.
When selecting a preschool or nursery, the campus will play a role in which school you ultimately select.
Safe and engaging facilities are very likely to rank high on your list for several reasons.
The health and safety of your child are paramount and should be to your child's school.
You want to ensure that the facilities are constantly evolving and updated and that the faculty and staff are well trained in safety measures.
You will also want to learn about the school's resources.
Modern classrooms are chock full of screens, gadgets, and tools designed to teach children more effectively, but check that they are used judiciously.
Also, if outdoor education is appealing, look for gardens, animals, and opportunities for your little one to wonder about the natural world.
Science tells us that getting little hands dirty in outdoor play spaces improves health and brain function.
At the same time, it is essential to view the facilities through health and hygiene.
How are seating areas split up in the classroom? Is there enough space between students? How often are the classroom and all of its contents (toys, desks, tables, books, etc.) disinfected? Is the room well ventilated?
These questions can all help you understand whether or not the school holds the health of its students as highly as you do.
The nursery and preschool years are the underpinnings of your child's educational journey.
Use these tips to help guide your research, look for the joy in the classroom, and trust your instincts.
- Communication skills. Preschool teachers need good communication skills to tell parents and colleagues about students' progress. ...
- Creativity. Preschool teachers must plan lessons that engage young students. ...
- Interpersonal skills. ...
- Organizational skills. ...
- Patience. ...
- Physical stamina.
- Effective goal-setting.
- Clear communication.
- Acting as a role model.
- Adaptability and flexibility.
- Life-long learning.
- Promoting a love of learning.
- A good teacher instills confidence. ...
- A good teacher manages the classroom effectively. ...
- A good teacher is prepared. ...
- A good teacher sets high expectations. ...
- A good teacher practices self-reflection. ...
- A good teacher uses teaching strategies.