Give a child a promising start in their education through your role as a preschool teacher — just one of the many careers in child development available for education professionals. Preschool teachers are responsible for educating and caring for children 5 and younger who are not yet in kindergarten.
Subject areas might include language, motor and social skill development, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Because young children learn through play and problem solving, preschool teachers use these techniques frequently in their lessons. It is also critical that these education professionals have an understanding of child development, both physical and social.
Here are five reasons to pursue this rewarding career path.
1. Early Childhood Education is a Growing Field
The BLS projects occupational growth for educators who specialize in early education. In fact, the BLS estimates a 10 percent growth in employment for preschool teachers through 2026, a rate faster than the national average for all occupations. Demand for early childhood education professionals is assisted by a continued focus on early childhood education outcomes.
In addition, the BLS reports that job outlook for preschool and childcare center directors is projected to grow 11 percent, which is faster than the national average. The demand for preschools and the professionals who manage them is expected to remain strong.
Preschool teachers can work in a variety of settings. The top employer of preschool teachers is child day care services, which employ 57 percent of preschool teachers according to the BLS. Religious, professional and civic organizations employ 18 percent, while elementary and secondary schools employ another 17 percent, the BLS reports.
2. You Will Support the Personal, Academic and Social Development of Children
Children need certain skills before kindergarten, especially in terms of their academic, social and emotional development. Kindergarten readiness begins in preschool – sometimes sooner – and is important for a child’s academic success later down the road.
Preschool teachers help support a child’s personal, academic and social progress during a crucial stage of brain development. Preschool teachers focus on basic competencies in the classroom, including:
- Social and emotional development
- Physical development
- Language and literacy
- Mathematical thinking
- Scientific thinking
- Social studies
- The arts
Supporting preschool children in these developmental areas will ensure they are prepared and ready for future academic experiences.
3. You Will Be a Role Model to Young Children
Preschool teachers are central role models in a young child’s life. Early childhood educators support children during a pivotal time of academic development and personal growth. Preschool is often a child’s first time away from their parents for an extended period. It can be intimidating for young children; however, as a positive and calm preschool teacher, you can help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety often associated with this milestone.
Preschool is an opportunity for children to regularly engage and socialize with their peers. As a teacher, you facilitate relationship-building exercises that help children bridge social gaps to make new friends and establish social skills.
4. Every Day is Unique
At this age, children learn best when they are having fun. Preschool teachers get to create entertaining, engaging and creative classrooms that promote learning as well as social, cognitive and emotional development. In fact, every day brings unexpected learning experiences when you become a preschool teacher.
Learning milestones are broad and educators must look for ways to incorporate multiple subject areas into a single lesson. Creativity is an important skill for preschool teachers. You might act out a storybook one day and create a U.S. map using dried pasta noodles the next. The key is to make sure all activities are educational and help children to progress in their academics, social skills, cognitive skills and emotional development.
5. You Have a Passion for Early Education
Teachers of all grades are valuable to society. Early childhood teachers work with children at the start of their educational journey and help them to understand and attain some of the most basic and foundational academic, social, cognitive and emotional concepts. If you have a passion for education and enjoy working with small children, a career as a preschool teacher could be right for you.
Earning an undergraduate degree in child development is your first step if you decide to pursue a career as a preschool teacher. A bachelor’s degree will improve your job prospects when searching for careers because it shows employers that you have specialized training in child development, learning theories and more. Concordia University, St. Paul offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Child Development program designed to help you gain these skills in a flexible environment designed for your success.