Children, until they reach the age of five, are instructed by preschool teachers. These teachers usually employ play-based activities to impart beginning skills needed for social studies, science, writing and reading. Some employers require preschool teachers to hold only a high school diploma while others insist the aspiring teachers to complete an associate degree program in early childhood education.
Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Early Childhood Education
Through early childhood education programs, students are prepared with an understanding of social, psychological and physical development of children from the time they are born until they are five. Best practices in teaching (through the use of such theoretical knowledge) are also taught. The teachers are also trained in the appropriate assessment of children and implementation of educational activities in keeping with the individual needs of students. After they graduate from such programs, aspiring preschool teachers can seek employment in various preschool and child care centers.
Typically, associate degree programs in early childhood education are offered at community colleges. Admission criteria usually require applicants to hold a high school diploma or general educational development (GED) certificate, apart from passing the college admission exams. Aspiring preschool teachers are required to complete coursework that includes a minimum of one year of child development and many years of English. Above all, they must be motivated to work with and encourage young students from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Program Course Topics
In order for students to fulfill the degree requirements, they must complete professional fieldwork, as well as traditional classroom work. The following course topics may be included:
•Early childhood education administration
•Early childhood development
•Nutrition, safety, and health
•Child assessment and observation
•Early childhood education theory
Salary Information and Employment Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS – www.bls.gov), the majority of preschool teachers only work in the field for a short period of time, and due to the high turnover rate, it lead to faster-than-average job growth for this profession at nineteen percent from 2008 to 2018. However, the population of children in preschool age range was expected to be much lower compared to prior years. As of May 2009, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that preschool teachers average annual salary were around $24,540.
Information on Continuing Education
Preschool teachers who have earned their associate degree in early childhood education can pursue a bachelor degree program in early childhood education that can lead to positions in administration and management. Some preschool teachers might want to pursue a bachelor degree program in elementary education to teach at a different level since elementary school teachers typically earn higher salaries.