The requirements for becoming a kindergarten teacher can be quite diverse. Most public schools in the United States and Canada will not hire people unless they are credentialed and have earned a bachelor’s degree in education or early childhood education. Each state and province in Canada and the United States may have its own set of requirements, and the time it takes to obtain the necessary training and licensing is typically between 4-5 years of full-time study. Some schools offer a single program that allows credentialing upon completion, while others require students to earn their bachelor’s degree first and then enroll in a separate credentialing program.
Different levels of credentials may exist in some states, which may have an impact on pay. Only job applicants with a master’s degree in early childhood education or elementary education may be considered a few schools with strict standards. On the other hand, some schools are hesitant to hire a teacher with a master’s degree because it will require them to pay that teacher more money, which is usually determined local or state teacher’s unions.
If a person wishes to work as a kindergarten teacher in a private school, the situation changes completely. Each private school sets its own requirements for the level of education required for employment. Some schools only hire credentialed teachers, while others may consider a kindergarten teacher without a college diploma to be perfectly acceptable. Schools that use a very specific teaching methodology, such as Waldorf schools, may require teachers to complete Waldorf training before they are hired. People who want to maximize their employment opportunities should usually pursue a credential in their home state or province. To find out what credentials are required, contact your local or state Board of Education, and make sure you attend an accredited school.
In kindergarten, there have been a number of changes to the requirements. People from previous generations may recall kindergarten as a place where children experimented with new things with little emphasis on academic learning. This has changed in many countries, and children may now be required to achieve academic mastery of certain subjects before entering first grade. Standard requirements may now include ensuring that children can read, or at the very least recognize and write all letters, as well as possessing some basic math skills, particularly the ability to read and write numbers up to 20 or 100.
Other important skills that a kindergarten teacher will teach kindergarten students include how to focus and pay attention, how to be respectful of others, and how to behave in a structured classroom setting. Some kindergarten classes are also running longer than they were previously. Full-day kindergartens are now common in many states, allowing kindergarten teachers to work longer days.
It’s often said that being a kindergarten teacher requires a special person, but all teachers are exceptional. Kindergarten teachers, on the other hand, may require a great deal of patience because they work with the most diverse students: those who are already reading and have spent a few years in preschool, as well as those who have never been in an organized learning environment. In most cases, no tests are given to children entering kindergarten, even if they may be required for passage to the next grade. Even the age group can differ significantly, with some kindergarten students starting when they are only five years old and others not starting until they are six years old. As a teacher begins to implement the standards that all of these students must learn in order to progress to first grade, these vast student differences can make for interesting times in the classroom.
Aside from education, determining whether kindergarten is the right place for a teacher is clearly a good idea. Those who do not enjoy a little chaos and a wide range of student personalities are probably better suited to other grades or careers. It makes sense to spend some time as a teacher volunteer in a kindergarten classroom to see if this is the right fit. Most local schools will welcome the opportunity to have a student assist them in class, and many kindergarten teachers are willing to share the knowledge they’ve gained over the years. This investigation can begin as early as high school or the first few years of college, and people in these years are encouraged to volunteer and see if becoming a kindergarten teacher is the right path for them.