Kindergarten teachers are responsible for a child's first education experience, so their role often stretches beyond just being a teacher. Their teaching focuses on introducing basic subjects and concepts, such as colors, shapes and basic math, but also includes encouraging social skills and student participation.
Kindergarten teachers instruct students in basic subjects but are also required to nurture children and teach them valuable social skills. By using hands-on lessons and creative play, they lay the foundation for future learning. The typical requirement for this profession is a bachelor's degree in education and state teaching licensure.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree with student-teaching experience|
|Other Requirements||State licensure or certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6%|
|Average Annual Salary (2015)*||$54,510|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Duties for Teaching Kindergarten
Kindergarten teachers are some of the most important teachers children will ever meet during their academic careers. These teachers build a firm foundation for future learning. Students' opinions and perceptions of school are shaped by what they experience during their first years of school. A kindergarten teacher must serve as educator, surrogate parent and psychologist in order to mold students who are well-adjusted and eager to learn.
Kindergarten teachers teach their students basic academic skills, including letter recognition, phonics and phonemic awareness. In addition to these tasks, they help students learn to read and write.
Kindergarten teachers instruct children on basic mathematical concepts. Pupils learn number recognition, simple addition and subtraction, basic fractions, measurement and problem solving. Students in kindergarten also learn social skills, science, arts and humanities, practical living and social studies. Many kindergarten teachers instruct the same class of students the entire day, but other kindergarten teachers instruct one kindergarten class in the morning and a different set of students in the afternoon.
Kindergarten teachers are responsible for leading students through creative play and hands-on activities. They must plan lessons according to the state curriculum and assess students, tailoring their lessons according to the different abilities of children in the classroom. Kindergarten teachers grade papers and conduct parent-teacher conferences as well. They may also sponsor after-school clubs or sports teams.
Kindergarten teachers typically must earn a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a state teaching certificate to work in public schools. Some teachers eventually earn a master's degree in education to achieve higher salaries and career advancement. All teachers are responsible for pursuing continuing education opportunities. They participate in workshops and seminars that help to strengthen their arsenal of teaching methods.
Kindergarten teachers follow the state curriculum when planning their class activities. Math, reading, creative play and writing are included in their classroom planning. A bachelor's degree and teaching credential are the minimum for kindergarten teachers to educate at this level, although many chose to go for a master's program in order to continue progressing in their field.