Parents choose to enroll their children in a preschool program for a variety reasons, whether it is to care for their children during work hours, or simply for the education and social interaction that preschool provides. Preschool teachers have a very important job, as they care for and teach children during a key developmental period of childhood. There are some surprising facts that you may not know about the person who is helping shape your child during these formative years.
They receive low pay and minimal benefits.
Teaching preschool isn't going to make a person rich. Society is aware that teachers in general don't make a huge amount of money, but teachers in early education programs make even less than an elementary school teacher. Some preschools will pay teachers a salary, while some pay an hourly wage.
Since many preschools are run privately, benefits may be lacking or even non-existent. It's expensive for an organization to provide insurance and retirement benefits. Preschools through state-funded programs are likely to be able to provide more additional benefits to teachers, but small, private schools may not offer any kind of benefits.
The lead teacher is college educated.
Assistant teachers and helpers in a preschool program may just have a high school education, but the lead teacher likely has a type of degree in education. Teaching preschool is a career for many people, not just a job.
Aside from a college education, many lead preschool teachers receive additional training hours each year and are also certified in CPR. They are fully equipped to prepare your young child for Kindergarten.
They may be looking for other opportunities.
Turnover rates in early childhood education are high. This is due partly to the low pay, lack of benefits and the fact that the teachers are likely to have an education and can make more money elsewhere. Some teachers use their preschool teaching job as a stepping stone on the way to a teaching job in an elementary school.
They wish they could use the restroom when they needed to.
Preschools are required to abide by state licensing standards, which mandates a certain student to teacher ratio. Even though there may be two teachers in the room, both are required to be in the room at all times. It can be difficult, and sometimes impossible, to get a restroom break.
They do more than just play all day.
At a young age, children learn through play. Even though you may get the impression that your child simply played all day, the teachers are constantly working. Whether it is through centers, group activities, or games, the preschool teachers are making sure your children have a wide variety of opportunities to learn.
Accreditation would be great for their school.
Accredited preschools can be fairly rare. There is no mandate to become accredited, since so many preschools are private. Although becoming accredited is a long and difficult process, it helps the school or organization set higher standards and raise accountability. This can be very beneficial for students and teachers, but many schools are either unwilling or unable to complete the task.
They love their job and their students.
Early childhood educators have chosen their career path for a reason. Even though it may not make them rich, their job is rewarding.