A kindergarten teacher plays an essential role in the education development of young children. Working with students from 4-6 years of age, these teaching professionals introduce children to formal education in a manner that instills a lifelong love of learning. Early childhood educators must create an engaging learning environment that enhances curiosity and encourages children to seek knowledge independently from formal sources.
By creating a stimulating instructional environment, kindergarten teachers help young students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. With learning centers throughout the classroom room environment, much of the instructional approach centers on interactive activities. These teachers help students develop age-appropriate social skills and they promote positive self-esteem. With the academic benchmark for kindergarteners rising, teachers are now responsible for teaching letter recognition, word literacy, and simple math skills to prepare students for the first grade curriculum. If you are interested in shaping young minds and you enjoy creativity, then the first step to teaching young children is to earn your bachelor’s degree.
Bachelor’s Degree for Kindergarten Teachers
All states require a bachelor’s degree for you to become eligible for state licensure. The education program typically takes 18 months to 24 months to complete at an accredited college or university. Most colleges will accept students who have a high school diploma and average SAT scores.
In addition to common core college subjects, early childhood education programs teach students pedagogy styles to engage young students. This includes interactive activities. Students develop a deep understanding on how teaching methods and education lesson plans enhance a child’s ability to learn. Some of the common courses in an early childhood program include child development, technology for early learners, classroom management, educational psychology, and curriculum planning.
Once students complete the academic requirements of a college program, they will participate in an internship program. Also known as student teaching, you will learn the myriads roles of a kindergarten teacher. You will devise daily lesson plans and lead class instruction. During an internship, the classroom instructor, principal, and college supervisor evaluate students. The internship is a great way for students to experience hands-on daily teaching and apply classroom-learned pedagogies. It is also a great way for students to develop academic contacts for landing a teaching position. Many successful interns attain their first teaching position through their internships.
State Licensure for Certification
All states require prospective teachers to acquire state licensure in order to teach. The states vary in requirements, but usually prospective teachers must take and successfully pass the Praxis test. The Praxis test will include questions that pertain to your chosen major. You will also have to pass reading and writing skill sections. The test includes multiple-choice questions and essays. For up-to-date information on the required Praxis test, contact your state’s Department of Education. Once you successfully pass the Praxis test, the Department of Education will mail your teaching license.
The job opportunities for kindergarten teachers are on the increase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for kindergarten teachers will grow 16 percent through 2016. Population increase and teacher retirements propel this growth. Starting salaries for teachers vary from state to state. However, the average starting salary is $35,000 per year. According to the BLS, the average median salary for teachers approaches $47,000 annually.
Kindergarten teachers experience rich and rewarding careers. They begin the development of future astronauts, doctors, mathematicians, political leaders, and teachers. If you love working with young children and are committed to education excellence, contact your local college or university and take the first step towards acquiring your teaching certification.